Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Cadillac Luggage closed? Previous Next
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Evelyn
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Username: Evelyn

Post Number: 13
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 69.242.223.150
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 4:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was taking a walk downtown this afternoon, and I noticed that the Cadillac Luggage store in the Penobscot looks vacant. I was curious what happened, since it was still open right after the Superbowl (I stopped inside and bought a new purse.) Anyone know any more details?
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Wmuchris
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Username: Wmuchris

Post Number: 238
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.58.36.2
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 4:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh no...Bagman???
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Aiw
Member
Username: Aiw

Post Number: 5318
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.228.64.24
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 9:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Must have been the lack of on street parking superbowl week.
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Everyman
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Username: Everyman

Post Number: 40
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 24.136.14.239
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's only open 20 minutes a day, you must have gone at the wrong time
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Matt_the_deuce
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Username: Matt_the_deuce

Post Number: 509
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.14.248.252
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 12:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So all the hand ringing by Bagman was really his final exit?

Bagman, what was the point with all the posts if you were going to close anyway?
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Broken_main
Member
Username: Broken_main

Post Number: 814
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.222.11.226
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 12:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman, you shouldn't have given up so easy. You had a forum full of advice coming at you. It is very sad to see you leave.
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Dag
Member
Username: Dag

Post Number: 190
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.188.238.215
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 1:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

He was providing excuses. It seems as though he took the post reluctantly in the first place with the passing of his father, gave it a go and decided it wasn't for him. Not all people are cut out for business in less than ideal area.

Of course this is all based on speculation and he might just be moving to a more visable or cheaper location and everything I said should be summarily retracted.
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Jasoncw
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Username: Jasoncw

Post Number: 122
Registered: 07-2005
Posted From: 148.61.248.170
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 1:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Personally, since it's so close to campus martius and all the offices, I don't think a luggage store would be good for that place.

I hope the spot gets filled up soon with something better.
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Broken_main
Member
Username: Broken_main

Post Number: 818
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.222.11.226
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 3:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

With all of the new developments in the area...I see a luggage shop still being a profitable venture, given the right location.
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Bagman
Member
Username: Bagman

Post Number: 32
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 68.255.162.69
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 4:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have closed the store.

It was my life long dream to run that store, I just wish that business would have not continued on the downward spiral, it has been on for 10+ years. It pains me to have to close the store, But I was able to make a deal (keep reading), which came together in a matter of weeks, that allowed me to get all the bills paid, and even manage to take 2 out of the last 4 years salary I am owed. This is not really an excuse, but folks should know where I am coming from. I am in massive amounts of physical pain from a degenetive back desease, already have had 2 major back operations, need more work done and really don't need the stress and the pain management makes working somewhat difficult, I need a break.

I had the best lease in the city, so finding something better never going to happen. I paid $5.50 a sq ft. No utilities, no CAM charges, but all that does not matter if the customer base is not there. This was a one man show for the last 10 years. Prior to that 2-3 people for 5 years, and 15-30 years ago we had up to 8 employees on the floor full time, including fulltime repair man
and a full time porter.

I know that closing a classic Detroit institution will disappoint a lot of folks, but frankly I do not see more people coming to work downtown any time soon, and that's who my customer base is, downtown office workers.

As a little aside, while talking with the woman who's job it is to compile this info for the building, I found out that more than 30% of the tenants of the Penobscot Building are at least 6+ months behind in rent, and the building is maybe 35% occupied.

Many of you offered advice, it was all taken to heart. It was also pretty obvious that some of you have no clue but think you know what going on, but that's why I love this forum.

A little history..on the deal and Cadillac Luggage...Back on Sept 10th 2001, I signed a deal to vacate my space. The owners backed out of the deal after 9/11. Now in 2005 when the building was just purchased and FARBMAN was brought back in to manage the building, I asked if they were interested in putting the deal back together. The original deal was to allow friend of the court to take over the space and have their own entrance into the building. Many folks feel that the FOC clients lined up in the lobby of the building detracts from the building.....Once that deal fell thru I asked some brokers to find someone who might be interested in the space...No takers......Now in 2005 with the new owners when I suggested that I would be willing to entertain being bought out of my lease me..They jumped at it and now...Detroit Commerce Bank will be expanding their offices into my space. They will build some offices and a conference room.

As for Cadillac Luggage, we are the last of 12 luggage stores to close in the CBD in the last 50 years. My family had been in luggage/leathergoods in Detroit for the last 80 years. Our last location at 111 Cadillac Sq was the store I grew up working in as a kid. Back in the day we sold more Schlesinger Brothers business cases than any other retailer in the country. We have dealt with generations of Detroiters.

Back during WWII my grandfather had to go to Canada buy European rivits bring them back, take an attache and remove all the American rivits and replace them with the ones he got in Canada. These cases would then get used by spies and their briefcases would not give them away as they appeared to be made out of European hardware.

Back when the equipment managers would go into a local store to get his bags for the teams, we had every Detroit sports team as customers.

Most Judges, city, state and federal have been customers, along with every well know lawyer.

If you got a paycheck from MOTOWN Records back in the day, you also had luggage from Cadillac Luggage.

As a you boy of about 7 or 8 (I'm 38 now) I can remember being in the store on a Saturday and a man and woman came in and people started to bussel. My grandfather , who walked with a severe limp and didn't get up to wait on customers much, did get up and called me over. He introduced me to Raymond and Rosa Parks. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this story for the second time in recent history.

Then there was HOFFA. Ok not Jimmy, but Danny Devito. When they filmed parts of the movie here in Detroit, the movie people came to use and had us re-build an attache case for Danny Devito so when they filmed him walking down the steps of the court house with an attache in hand it would look proportional to his little body. I think we had to cut 2 inches off each side then put the sides back on......

When I was a boy my grandfather sat a this huge wooden desk in the store, and when you got a job at one of the local law firms or accounting firms, the boss would walk you over to our store and he would sit and chat with my grandfather at his big desk and you would head to the briefcase section with a sales man to be shown the bag/price range that your new company would buy you. If you want to pay the differance and get something nicer your company would be billed for their part and you would cover the rest.

And then there are the ladies that bring in $2 a week on a $100 lay-away......

There had been a large poster of me at 8 years old dressed as a goalie hanging over the cash register for many years. I had been invited to a Michigan Sports Hall of Fame dinner one year. We were sitting at the table, when a older greying man came up to the next table to sit down, he noticed one of the old guys at our table and he came over to say hi, It was Mr. Hockey himself Gordie Howe. After saying hi to the guy he knew he acknoledged the two kids (me and my buddy) at the table. My buddy shook his hand, and when he went to shake my hand I introduced myself as the grandson of the owner of Cadillac Luggage, and Mr. Hockey says "Hey your the kid in the picture over the cash register"....THAT WAS COOL...the old guys at the table were sure impressed......I now as an adult, am very impressed by that.

I could go on for a while, but it stings a little, so I am going to stop, for now.

I do thank all the forumers who stopped in and made themselves known, and a bigger thanks to those of you who spent some money with me.
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Darwinism
Member
Username: Darwinism

Post Number: 425
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.209.187.90
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 4:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman: People who have never walked in your shoes and strutted in your strides will never understand your decisions. Best wishes to you and take good care of your health.
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Pffft
Member
Username: Pffft

Post Number: 777
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 68.248.3.99
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 10:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman, did you sell everything off yet?
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The_rock
Member
Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1017
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.42.251.225
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 10:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman--I share Darwinism"s views. I wish you the best. I was with the Vandeveer firm for nearly 40 years, and met Al and "Mr. Zane" when you were located on Woodward Ave and Mr. Zane gave me the painting of the DUCHESS of RICHMOND that I still have hanging. Then the firm followed you over to Cadillac Square where we bought our firm's brief cases and Ventura luggaage and discussed Constititional Law with Al. Then on to the Penobscot building from there. Cadillac Luggage is a real loss to the community. I still have three of those quality brief cases. They never wear out.
The best to you and yours. And who was the kid in the famous "hockeypads news clipping" that hung behind the desk on the wall for so many years?
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Bagman
Member
Username: Bagman

Post Number: 33
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 68.255.162.69
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 11:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mr Rock,
I do remember you and the DUCHESS of RICHMOND. I thank you for mentioning Mr. Zane, who actually was not Mr Zane, but Mr. Yezin, but I guess that was to JEWISH for the day. He has been dead for 15+ years but he is not forgotton. I learned alot for him as a kid.
Al was my grandfather, and yes he loved his constititional law.

......and I was the kid that hung on the wall behind the cash register

PFFFT - selling everything off would have been nice, but I rushed the deal, so they could not back out, so most of the stock is being stored in the Cass Corridor awaiting proper disposal, if I can be of assistance contact me at adamlbrook@hotmail.com and I'll see how I can help you.
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 2726
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.82.71
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 12:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Too lazy today to leave the house. What about the camera shop?
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Jiminnm
Member
Username: Jiminnm

Post Number: 307
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 69.241.164.222
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 1:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman, sorry to hear this. I still have my Schlesinger Brothers case that I purchased from your store 22-23 years ago. Even though I don't use it now, I love that leather and can't part with it.
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Evelyn
Member
Username: Evelyn

Post Number: 14
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 141.217.84.96
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 5:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman, sorry to see you go! Take care of your health. By the way, I really dig the new purse.
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Drm
Member
Username: Drm

Post Number: 873
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 207.215.1.194
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 10:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams, Detroit Camera moved to a separate space a few months ago.

Bagman, sorry to see you go. I am a repeat, satisfied customer.
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Pam
Member
Username: Pam

Post Number: 101
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 4.229.72.65
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 6:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs .dll/article?AID=/20060223/NEW S05/602230498/1007/NEWS
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Cafe
Member
Username: Cafe

Post Number: 1184
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 84.162.85.11
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 7:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow. I am so sorry to hear this news. As someone who worked for 3 years with no salery, I understand just a little. You have wonderful memories, and when you can, please share more. Loosing a business is like loosing a child. But your business had a rich history. Congratulations on making a deal that paid off bills. We still owe over 100k on our failed business. That is the reality of small business. It is a gamble.
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Michael
Member
Username: Michael

Post Number: 710
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.21.45.90
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 9:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A number of threads now have made me think, maybe we need a Detroit-based, small business owners support group.
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Michikraut
Member
Username: Michikraut

Post Number: 123
Registered: 05-2004
Posted From: 80.136.89.211
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 10:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sorry to see you go, Was hoping to come in during my trip to Detroit in March. Needed a new traveling bag, the Leather&Baggage shop in East Lansing (Frandor Mall ) also closed down about a year ago. The men in my family all recieved a suitcase and travel bag from this store (sorry the name escapes me at the moment)for graduation from High School. A tradition started by my Grandfather for his boys. This store too was a family business, one time having 2 locations, but was not able to compete with discount stores and changing tastes. First they closed the downtown store and then added gifts and collectables at the Frandor location. Hoping by expanding the sortiment- they could attract customers (had great Clocks from Howard Miller.(still produced in Holland, MI) Still in the end, they could not earn enough to make a living.

We all like getting a bargain and forget by making our purchases at a chainstore we are signing the death knell for small businesses. I wish you luck.
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Eastside
Member
Username: Eastside

Post Number: 787
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 69.246.10.58
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 10:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bagman,

You got some great stories, thank you for sharing! Your family has forever left a mark on downtown...you are undoubtably a legend.
Godspeed to you sir.
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Darwinism
Member
Username: Darwinism

Post Number: 426
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.209.187.90
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 10:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cafe and Bagman are terrific examples of resilient citizens of Detroit putting the littlest money they have where their mouths are. These people are not your Robert Porchers and your Ilitches with buckets of money, but they still work their butts off trying to be optimistic and trying to participate in Detroit's Renaissance. However, very often, the small biz owners just can't continue bleeding red ink.

Michael is right. We should have a thread in the Connections forum for business owners to share and support each others' quests.
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Gannon
Member
Username: Gannon

Post Number: 5598
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 70.236.198.22
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 1:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

More than that, would sure be nice to have a Citizen's Credit Union that could amass the capital to help start smaller projects than the banks want to deal with...along with some oversight into these business's books for tax and liability advice.

Then when the capital grows the Union can underwrite insurance, too.

But having a group under the same economic and societal umbrella should do wonders for the smallest business owners here...more than just verbal support.
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Michigansheik
Member
Username: Michigansheik

Post Number: 92
Registered: 09-2005
Posted From: 63.65.97.67
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 7:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Best of luck Bagman, sorry to see you go.

Did I miss your announcing the closing? Would have been nice to know that it was your final week. Closing our doors sale.
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Jimaz
Member
Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 219
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 68.2.191.57
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 8:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For posterity, Adam "Bagman" Brook:

Adam "Bagman" Brook

Credit BILL McGRAW / Detroit Free Press

Cadillac Luggage closes doors after decades in Detroit:
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060223/NEWS05/602230498
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Bagman
Member
Username: Bagman

Post Number: 38
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 68.255.162.69
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 8:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

MI-sheik:
The agreement I had with the building was that I would not have a going out of business or firesale. I did run a 40% off sale for the last 4 weeks. I was also not allowed to do any press releases....

I am proud to say I did violate the agreement when I spoke with Bill Mcgraw from the Free Press. I outed the bank and their plans.....
But Lowell should know that DetroitYes.com lead Bill to me. It was only after seeing the thread here that he called to inquire about the store closing.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 534
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 9:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This may veer slightly off-topic, but I have a hard time believing that downtown has suffered a dramatic decrease in workers over the last 6-10 years. There is no way it's possible. The addition of just GM, EDS, Compuware, PWC, and 3 casinos have added about 20,000 downtown workers over the last few years. To be sure, downtown has lost some jobs to the suburbs during the same period, but the loss is far less than the gain.

The reduction in demand for certain goods and services is most likely due to different types of downtown jobs, and not due to the loss of downtown workers.

I would imagine lawyers and accountants would purchase a lot more briefcases than software developers do. It also hurts if the building next door is losing tenants to a building 10 blocks away, on the other side of downtown.
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Pffft
Member
Username: Pffft

Post Number: 779
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 68.248.3.99
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 9:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's what's happened to Mom and Pop shops all over, Erikd. How many old-fashioned luggage stores exist in the suburbs?

Harrison Luggage moved out of B'ham, tried it on Woodward, failed, tried Berkley for a while and that didn't work either. Cheaper rent isn't the answer, too many people are going to discount stores.
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Jimaz
Member
Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 220
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 68.2.191.57
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 9:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm a software developer and I want a briefcase. Maybe there were more traveling salemen in past generations in need of luggage. I dunno. I defer to Bagman. He's the expert.
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Pffft
Member
Username: Pffft

Post Number: 780
Registered: 12-2003
Posted From: 68.248.3.99
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 9:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There is as much demand, or more. But people are buying their bags at TJ Maxx and Costco.
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Erikd
Member
Username: Erikd

Post Number: 535
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.242.214.106
Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 - 9:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pffft makes another good point about the changing retail market. We should also consider the effect of internet retailers cutting into the sales of brick and mortar stores.

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