Summer 2018
City Bird & Nest, Detroit By Julie McCallum

Siblings and lifelong, seventh-generation Detroiters, Andy and Emily Linn founded the company in 2005 as a way to merge their mutual love for design with their admiration for their city and region. In 2009, they opened their eponymous flagship retail store in the Cass Corridor in Midtown, Detroit, where they showcase art, design, and handmade goods by more than 200 artists from throughout the Great Lakes region, as well as their popular house line of locally-themed products, produced in their Detroit-based studio.

City Bird is the oldest store in Detroit’s bustling and popular Cass and Canfield shopping district. In 2011, they expanded their brick-and-mortar retail offerings by opening Nest, a complementary home goods and gift shop next door to City Bird. At this time, these were the only two retail stores on the block.

“We like to say that Detroit is a city that’s big enough to make a difference in the world, but small enough that you can make a difference,” said Emily Linn.

In 2012, as interest in Detroit began to grow, Andy and Emily noticed that they were receiving increased traffic by out-of-state visitors who were fascinated by the city. However, at that time, there was not a printed guidebook to the city, so, with their brother Rob, Andy and Emily wrote, edited, and published Belle Isle to 8 Mile: an Insiders Guide to Detroit, the first comprehensive, printed guidebook to Detroit in a generation. At 448 pages, the illustrated guide featured more than 1,000 restaurants, bars, attractions, and sites, from the essential to the obscure.

By 2013, the neighborhood around the stores had exploded with growth. Once the only two stores on the block, Cass and Canfield had become Detroit’s most popular independent retail destination, with many stores within a few moments walk, including Jack White’s Third Man Records, Shinola’s flagship location, and many other destination independent retailers and restaurants.

In 2013, the Linns worked with a traveling rep group to introduce their popular house line of Detroit, Michigan, and Great Lakes-themed goods to retailers around the state. Now in its fifth year, the line has grown to include hundreds of SKUs, including apparel, home goods, paper goods, jewelry, point of purchase items, and many others. It is now carried in 150 retails around Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Contact wholesale@citybirddetroit.com for more information.

“We love meeting visitors and sharing our city with them,” the Linns said. “We also love the creative side. We love buying for the shops, and product design for our house line of goods.”

Learn more about their store here.





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