Saying Goodbye To the Broadway

By Demetrius Carrington

For as long as I can remember at the corner of Broadway and Gratiot Ave there stood The Broadway clothing store.
As you can imagine I was saddened to hear that The Broadway will be closing sometime this month.

The Detroit I know is just about gone now, which isn’t all bad but it’s still a little sad to see the changing of the guard.

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When I was in my twenties, if you shopped at The Broadway you were really doing something, from local celebrities and athletes to the local clergy everyone loved The Broadway. But they had something for everyone and everyone felt like a VIP. My sales person was “Ron” he had a big smile and was very funny and he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you if something didn’t look quite right on you. You could always count on The Broadway to get you the look you needed.

In fact, the store was so popular all of the sales people were like local celebrities in their own right. Theses guy were all very dapper gentlemen with great customer service skills. I’m afraid those days may be gone.

I believe that The Broadway is responsible for the “Detroit style” from Mauri Gators to Gianni Versace it was The Broadway that introduced those designers to Detroit and who could forget the colorful lineup of suite they offered.

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Chuck Bennett and Pepper Martin would stage these elaborate fashion shows introducing Detroit to what was surely the next big thing. I remember when they introduced Versace, the crowd gasped when they told us that the price of the shirts were $1,500.00 each, but without fail the next day the store was packed with everyone looking for those $1,500.00 shirts.



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At one point The Broadway sold more Versace than any other store. It was crazy, you would see cars with Canadian license plates, and plates from everywhere else all commuting to shop at The Broadway.

Another time they had a fashion show with twenty models wearing a different bright colored suit. At the end of the show they had all twenty of the models lined up across the stage in these beautiful suits, it was wonderful. And of course the suits were a big success.

Big named stars loved to shop at The Broadway also; I remember the Notorious B.I.G. asked me “where is this store called The Broadway”? He loved the place, the famous line in one of his songs where he says “stink pink gators my Detroit players” came after his visit to The Broadway, make no mistake about it; he got his gators from The Broadway. And the list of celebrities who loved The Broadway goes back for 30 years.

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Pepper Martin created something special, The Broadway is Detroit history. I’m certainly sad to see them go. It was a great run and I’m also excited to see what’s next.

Pepper was always kind and welcoming to his patrons, The Broadway was a part of Detroit culture. I wish him all the best in his retirement, and from the bottom of my heart I’d like to thank you for all the memories and all the great neckties.


The following is a recent unedited interview we Chuck Bennett and Pepper Martin from the Happy Hour with Chuck Bennett Radio Show which airs on 910am Super Station M-F from 5-7pm