We’re proud to have Bridge & Burn styles as part of the line-up at George Gregory, a stylish menswear shop in Detroit. We asked founder Caitlin Riney about launching the shop, her love of Detroit, and building an e-commerce website practically overnight once the pandemic hit.
What inspired you to launch George Gregory?
George Gregory launched when I moved back to Detroit from Chicago and spent weeks exploring and studying what Detroit needed in terms of retail. When you dislike your job enough, find happiness in personal style and miss your family somewhere in the middle you create the momentum and work up enough courage to execute the dream. Fast forward to now, where George Gregory landed at 1422 Michigan Ave, in the heart of one of Detroit’s most charming neighborhoods; Corktown. Inspired by the middle names of my father and two brothers, George Gregory is a space with a goal that each time you leave the shop you’re in at least a tiny bit better mood than when you opened the door. A shop offering pieces for a relaxed Sunday, a business casual office or a night out with friends, and everywhere in between-masculine, but with a fresh sense of creativity and play. Carrying sizes S-XXXL in a range of price points welcoming everyone in the evolution of personal style.
The past few months have been difficult for the retail community. What's been the biggest change for you, and have you found any silver lining?
The past view months have been an absolute whirlwind. Running a small business is already a tough task, and when you throw a pandemic on top it takes a lot of mental energy to pivot. The biggest change for me was 100% of my business came from customers walking into my shop pre COVID. George Gregory was never meant to be an e-commerce business, but once we were shut down I quickly knew that needed to change. I spent 48 hours watching YouTube videos on how to build an e-commerce website and a week later GG online happened. It was by no means my entire store, but a very big step in the right direction. The community that used to walk through my doors on a weekly basis transitioned to online buying smoother than I expected and curbside pick ups/local drop offs saved us for the 87 days we were shutdown. George Gregory customers always provide a silver lining in any situation because they ALWAYS show up when I need them most. It's something I am forever grateful for.
Tell us something you love about Detroit.
I love the heart of Detroiters- people who stand by their neighbors and support each other. The moment I moved to Detroit I felt I was in the right place. I feel like I need this city as much as this city needs me and that feeling is very rare.
What do you dream of for the brand in the next year?
George Gregory turns 3 in October and it's going to be such a bittersweet celebration as we cannot host our usual party. Dreams for the next year include hiring a part time employee!! I have run GG solo for 3 years and it's time I take small steps out in order to grow the business. It's an exciting chapter ahead, but also a nerveracking one as being in this store everyday is all I and my customers know. I want to expand our online store to showcase everything we offer and also break into some "at home" personal styling. Things are going to continue to shift as we navigate this new world, but I have no doubt we will make it to the other side. GG has come too far to turn back.