And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow –
‘Shadow,’ said he, ‘Where can it be-
This land of Eldorado?’

A corner shop nestled into the heart of Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood is home to Eldorado General Store, a veritable mecca of meticulously curated vintage clothing, accessories, locally made goods, trinkets and other unique sundries. On a bright and breezy Saturday morning, I hopped in my car and made the journey to this “lost city of gold” to meet with shop owner, treasure huntress and bi-coastal dweller, Erin Gavle.

I heard it was a vintage lover’s dream. And it was.

There is so much to be said for a mood or feeling elicited from a certain interior space. Walking through the door I froze, visually stunned by the thoughtful displays of colorful goods and the giant American flag hanging on the exposed brick wall behind a beautiful, gleaming old world wood counter. I was instantly welcomed by Erin and while she hurried about preparing for the day’s business, I slowly roamed through the space, delicately touching fabrics and letting my fingers graze over the unique objects and artifacts hand picked by this brilliant collector. I knew instantly that I would be leaving with a treasure just as I knew I’d be returning, making a visit to Eldorado a monthly ritual saved for the idlest of weekend mornings.

Originally, our plan was to chat and take a few images before the shop was officially open for the day but the unlocked front door soon gave way to a steady stream of visitors. Observing Erin in her element as she greeted guests and introduced herself, one would think she was welcoming strangers into her own home (which incidentally is in the same building). During a brief respite, I commented on this and she spoke about the importance of creating an experience and fostering a sense of community and neighborliness, much like general stores of the past were known to do. At one point, I wandered over to the window where I could see Michigan Central Station, the iconic, towering ruin that serves as a stark yet hauntingly beautiful reminder of what Detroit once was. But despite the blight and blemishes the city is so well known for, it’s people like Erin that help to provide a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.

I lingered for a bit longer, not quite ready to conclude my visit and still eying a beautiful set of gold and marble sailboat bookends just asking to be taken home to a loving owner. Eldorado is truly a magical place. Thank you Erin, for sharing your amazing collections with the world.

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Photos and article by Heather of HMN Photography