Neighborhood Spotlight: Downtown Birmingham

By: Aaron B. Cohen | June 30, 2021

Photo courtesy of Wachler Diamonds.

There’s a reason downtown Birmingham is one of Metro Detroit’s hottest destinations. Aside from a sprawling assortment of exceptional dining establishments, the city is home to dozens of family-owned businesses that pride themselves on unique inventory and quality service. This week, we’re taking a look at five stores to check out next time you find yourself at the corner of Old Woodward and Maple Road.

Detroit Guitar

Mentioned previously in our roundup of local music stores, Detroit Guitar provides local musicians with a meticulously curated selection of high-end guitars and basses, ranging from Gibson and Taylor Acoustics to rare Fender Custom Shop and Gretsch electrics. The downtown Birmingham store also features boutique amplifiers and effects that you can take for a spin in their private, soundproofed studios. While Metro Detroit boasts plenty of instrument retailers, few maintain such an exceptional array of exclusive pieces. Whether you’re a complete beginner or seasoned pro, you will inevitably feel inspired by the artful space and expertise of the staff whose only goal is to match you with the instrument of your dreams.

Caruso Caruso

A mainstay along Maple Road, Caruso Caruso is your go-to destination for denim. With designer brands including Nudie and Citizens of Humanity combined with a sales team on top of the latest trends, you are likely to leave with your new favorite pair of jeans in tow. Caruso also features a wide range of Detroit-centric clothing, allowing locals to support their teams in style. This is no stadium pro-shop. We’re talking about camo hats sporting the old English D and vintage Detroit Bad Boys deadstock. If you’re looking to elevate your loungewear, the selection of Faherty and Free City sweats will have you looking your best even when nobody is around to see you.

Urban Wick Candle Bar

Urban Wick is on a mission to “ignite your fifth sense.” It’s not just a candle shop… it’s a hands-on, candle-making experience. Walk into the store, grab a clipboard and let your nose guide you through dozens of scented oils. Choose your favorite three or four, select your color and then begin the process of blending and pouring your own custom candle. It takes about 45 minutes to from start to finish and an additional hour or two for the wax to fully solidify. While you wait, check out the other businesses in downtown Birmingham, along with the huge selection of restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance. This is the perfect activity for rainy summer days, or to spice up (pun intended) a day of shopping and errands.

Optik Birmingham

While online glasses shopping may be all the rage, locals flock to Optik for their wonderfully unique selection of designer frames. The glasses may cost more than your standard pair but if you’re looking to make a bold statement — be it refined, daring or just…cool – there’s no better way to accessorize. Need an updated prescription? Optik is your one-stop shop for eye exams, so you can streamline your shopping in a single trip.

Wachler Diamonds and Wachler Estate Collection

After nearly 100 years in the business, Wachler Diamonds is one of the region’s most respected names in fine jewelry. Since 2012, their Instagram page has garnered international attention for a remarkable selection of rare stones, watches and perhaps most notably, engagement rings. Looking to unload your old jewelry? They buy too! Call or (for the fastest response) direct message them to set up an appointment at this local institution.