SHIFTing Flint Fashion Forward

Fun, fashion-forward and unique: that’s the atmosphere you’ll walk into when entering downtown Flint’s newest retail store, SHIFT. And that’s exactly what owner Shannon White is aiming for.

Nestled on the intersection of Harrison and Second Street next to the Capitol Theatre, SHIFT offers everything from women and men’s clothing to monthly socials where families can have a fun night out.

With most of downtown being flooded with restaurants and bars, there is not much happening in the shopping department. White wants to change these circumstances and hopes to inspire others to open retail businesses in the city.

“Right now we’re kind of an island, people have to want to come here. The eating establishments alone are not enough,” said White. “Retail is really important to the larger downtown setting because we have to give people a  reason to stay. That’s why we continue to do these once a month social shopping endeavors. People know they’re going to see their friends, they know they’re going to have a cocktail after work and they know that there’s cute stuff in the store.”

The store has been in downtown Flint no more than half a year, but that hasn’t stopped them from hosting numerous events to bring people who don’t live or work in Flint to the area and offer a personalized experience.

“I think it’s time for retail to be here,” said White. “It’s very easy for this place to be overlooked, which is our perpetual struggle–not be Flint’s best-kept secret. The timing was right and we just figured if we were going to do it, now was the time.”

White’s vision for SHIFT doesn’t stop at just selling clothes, however. Floradora, a retail flower boutique also based in Flint, helps bring a new element to the shopping experience. Meghan Hoffman, Floradora’s owner, gives classes on how to make centerpieces and wreaths for the holiday season, as well as a variety of other crafts inside of SHIFT.

“The idea is you come with a couple of friends, you have a glass of wine, you make something amazing that you would pay the same price or more for at a retail store and it’s a curated experience,” said White. “In the meantime, you might just find a gift or two to knock off your list.”

White is an architect by trade, so taking on the responsibility of a retail store was a learning process. When it came to hiring, it was important to her to have a passionate group of employees to set her vision aflame.

“I think this store is all about power to the She. We don’t want this to be seen as just another retail job, you have to be passionate about downtown,” said White. “We really value our small but mighty staff.”

Another element White saw as crucial for SHIFT was affordability. With many of the store’s patrons being nearby students, she wanted everyone to be able to come in and make a purchase no matter their budget.

“We carry brands that Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue carry, but you don’t have to drive to Somerset anymore for that,” said White. “More importantly, I think when people hear Saks Fifth Avenue they go ‘that’s out of my price range, I don’t shop there anyways,’ but we have really price conscious choices, as well. The buying for the store is really important for us because we have to be able to buy well at brands that are affordable.”

Affordability isn’t the only way White wants to make the store more accessible; something a lot of people don’t know about SHIFT is although the targeted demographic is women, they offer a variety of men and boy’s clothing, as well as accessories.

“What I love most about this store and something that a lot of people don’t understand is that we do carry menswear. We carry Levinas and Psycho Bunny,” said White. “We are more than just for women and we know that smart women are the ones who run households and always have different people to shop for.”

To find a list of SHIFT’s upcoming events, visit their Facebook page or their website.