After thieves crashed through the Jefferson Avenue storefront, owner Clement "Fame" Brown Jr. prepares for a Detroit-style comeback.
Somewhere between the late-night hours of Wednesday, Jan. 24 and the early morning hours of Jan. 25, burglars plowed a truck through the front of Detroit clothing shop, Three Thirteen. Owner Clement "Fame" Brown Jr. says the damage combined with the stolen merchandise delivered a $50,000 blow. They've been closed since it happened, but Brown is planning a huge comeback on March 13, the date city dwellers have nicknamed "Detroit (or 313) Day."
Three Thirteen will kick things off with a soft reopening on Friday, March 9. Hot 107.5 will be live on March 11, and the big day, March 13, will bring with it food, drinks, music and possibly a local musician or two. Brown says being closed for such an extended time has been a "momentum killer" that's impacted not just him but also his employees. "It hurt a lot," he says, but also that throughout it all he's fallen back on his brand's philosophy that says you keep moving and keep achieving no matter what.
The community support as helped. "I've been amazed at how – the store and what we're doing – it affects and influences people and inspires people," Brown says. "When things like that happen, you kind of can see who's who, who rallies around you and so forth. And it's been cool, it's been a special moment for me and it's given me an opportunity to find a new sense of self. … I wasn't really taught how to even ask for help, how to receive help."
He says the whole ordeal has encouraged him to "embrace the support and the love from people that we give the same love to, so it's kind of reciprocal. It feels good." Brown says he stopped short of creating a GoFundMe account or other similar crowdfunding campaign. "That's cool, but for me, I just looked at it (the burglary) as an opportunity to show my resilience. I'm a reflection of my market. I'm a reflection of the people that I serve." He says he wanted to exhibit that pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps spirit that permeates throughout the city and throughout the black community at large.
Brown says the break-in was just a hurdle toward his ultimate hope, which he says is for urban, Detroit-based brands to have collective leverage and a place in fashion and be able to impact the city's people and economy. He says, "That's dope, and that's the movement that I'm pushing. That's bigger than selling a shirt."
2642 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit · 313-818-0050
March 9 • Soft reopening, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
March 11 • Hot 107.5, 1-4 p.m.
March 13 • Grand reopening, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.