dredgers union revives retail in downtown cleveland

Since opening Dredgers Union, a new apparel and home goods store on E. Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland, owner Danielle DeBoe has been surprised by the number of out-of-town visitors she’s had.

“They ask if I have a location in their city, and then rave about the store and insist that I open one where they live,” says DeBoe with a laugh. “I’m excited because we’re providing out-of-towners with a more well-rounded retail experience.”

DeBoe, who also owns Room Service boutique in Ohio City, launched Dredgers Union with clothing designer Sean Bilovecky to revive and update the tradition of shopping in downtown Cleveland. Stocked with sizzling dresses, snazzy suits, trendy lamps, bedding and a range of other items, the store functions as a smaller, more stylish version of the department stores that once thrived here.

A stroll through the store, which is about 4,500 square feet, reveals what DeBoe calls “vignettes,” or discrete sections featuring lamps, bedding, kitchen items, perfumes and soaps, women’s lounge apparel and even a children’s section. These areas are housed on a raised platform that is separated by a railing.

Bilovecky’s private label clothing line is featured at the rear of the store. The merchandise includes denim jeans, suits and casual button-down shirts he calls “wovens.” So far, men’s apparel has been the most popular store item.

“We create custom, made-to-measure suits, so instead of getting them shipped overseas, our customers can get them right here,” says Bilovecky, who specializes in edgy, contemporary design and created the successful Wrath Arcane label. “People love the fact that they’re designed locally and made in the U.S.”

Dredgers Union will celebrate its grand opening with a big party on Friday, July 8th. The event will also kick off this year’s “Made in the 216,” an annual design show that DeBoe created several years ago to showcase local talent.

This year’s 216 event, which takes place all weekend long in the expansive lower level of Dredgers Union, has added local furniture designers to the mix.

Fresh Water Cleveland, 6/30/11

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