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December 06, 2012 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Detroit-themed merchandise is in demand at Funky 7 in Royal Oak.

I

Robin Schwartz

Contributing Writer

T

here's just something about
modern T-shirts: the edgi-
ness, the comfort, the casual
style. They can make a statement, tell
a story or take a person back in time.
Dan Davis, 55, of West Bloomfield, the
owner of Funky 7 in Royal Oak, admits
he was always more of a suit-and-tie
kind of guy. That is, until he opened his
hip T-shirt shop on Main Street back in
1998. Now, T-shirts are his bread and
butter and the staples of his wardrobe.
"That's all I ever wear anymore" he
says. "It's a comfort thing."
Funky 7 (named after a Japanese
pinball machine) specializes in Detroit-
themed clothing and Detroit sports
apparel with an urban, retro feel. The
quirky store also carries a variety of

other T-shirts designed by local art-
ists, hats, posters, incense and various
gift items. T-shirts range from $18-$40;
sweaters and jackets are $80-$90.
"We came in doing rock and roll
T-shirts, jewelry and that kind of thing,"
Davis explains. "But people were asking
for anything 'Detroit: We listened to our
customers and heard what they wanted.
Then we started going to trade shows
and finding our niche."
Today, patrons can literally wear
Detroit pride on their sleeves. The
walls and racks are filled with officially
licensed Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red
Wings merchandise. There are Old English
D's in all sizes and colors, Michigan college
tees and even a shirt featuring the logo for
Stroh's Beer. More unique items include a
tee with a Lions mascot from the 1950s, a
Dodge Hemi shirt and other automotive
prints, and a limited edition "Imported

From Detroit" T-shirt. A portion of the
proceeds from that shirt go to several
Detroit-based charities.
"Anything old is new We're finding all
the old graphics, nicer quality T-shirts.
Everything we get in we try to get that
`vintage-y' feel:' Davis says. "Detroit is
hot. Detroit sports are unbelievably hot.
It doesn't matter if your team is winning
or losing, they're always buying. We're
still selling tons of Lions and Tigers mer-
chandise, and we keep it in our inventory
year-round"

Retail Roots

Davis' retail roots go back to his child-
hood. His late father, Sandor "Alex" Davis,
was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor and
a professional custom tailor. He's remem-
bered as man so skilled in his trade he
could measure a person's size and seams
just by looking at him. According to the

Clay and Dan Davis
of Funky 7

Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington
Hills, Alex was 18 when the Germans
occupied Hungary in 1944. He and his
family were confined to a ghetto and then
sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in
Poland, where his parents and sister died.
Alex was also a slave laborer during the
war. He came to the United States in 1949
and served with the U.S. Army in Korea.
"He told them he was a tailor. He made
one of the first mine-proof suits the U.S.
Army ever had" Dan Davis recalls about
his dad. "I'm getting tears in my eyes just
thinking about it"
After the war, the elder Davis mar-
ried his wife, Elaine, another Holocaust
survivor who currently lives in West
Bloomfield, and opened Alex Davis
Clothiers. The men's clothing store started
on Second Boulevard in Detroit and
moved to Royal Oak in the early 1970s.
The business closed in 1998, a few months

Novel Tees on page 10

8

December 6 • 2012

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