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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Silverdome implosion, sort of | 0:51
The Pontiac Silverdome was to implode at 8:30 Sunday morning. That did not happen due to a wiring issue claims the contractor on the job, Adamo. Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Watch: Why did the Silverdome fail to implode? | 1:01
Rick Cuppetilli, executive vice president with Adamo, explains why the Pontiac Silverdome failed to implode on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Interview with mother of victim | 3:35
Interview with Ashley, the mother of a young girl who was sexually assaulted. Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Instant Pot: 6 tools you need to have | 0:47
Here are must-have tools for your Instant Pot. Sue Selasky, Detroit Free Press
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Boy with brain tumor gets wish granted from strangers | 1:22
Christmas kindness has come early this year for a 6-year-old with a terminal brain tumor. Brantley said he only wanted one thing for Christmas: an ornament for his tree. What happened next has amazed his family. USA TODAY
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Mies van der Rohe unit in Detroit's Lafayette park is a treasure | 0:35
The Mid-Century Modern housing enclave Mies van der Rohe designed for Detroit’s Lafayette Park has 184 units and this one is prime. Wochit
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES First look: Founders Brewing Co.'s Detroit taproom | 19:01
Here’s the first look inside the Founder Brewing Co. taproom in Detroit on Dec. 1, 2017. It officially opens Dec. 4. Facebook Live video by Brian Manzullo, DFP.
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CLOSETODAY'S TOP STORIES Backyard bobcat gives U.P. couple 3-day show | 1:20
This shaky video was shot Nov. 12 by Kelden resident Nick Serra, as he called to a bobcat near his home’s deck, attempting to get the cat to stand up. Nick Serra, special to the Free Press
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- Silverdome implosion, sort of
- Watch: Why did the Silverdome fail to implode?
- Interview with mother of victim
- Instant Pot: 6 tools you need to have
- Boy with brain tumor gets wish granted from strangers
- Mies van der Rohe unit in Detroit's Lafayette park is a treasure
- First look: Founders Brewing Co.'s Detroit taproom
- Backyard bobcat gives U.P. couple 3-day show
Detroit Denim Co. founder/co-owner, Eric Yelsma, 47, of Saline, appears on CNBC’s “The Profit.”(Photo: Gary Malerba/Special For Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo
Detroit Denim Co. founder Eric Yelsma pushes a red shopping cart on CNBC’s “The Profit,” searching through clothing racks at a local Value Village thrift store to shop for a new approach to growing the business.
“It was an entirely new way to look at what we could be doing,” said Yelsma, 47, who began making high-end men’s jeans in 2010 after a 15-year career in the chemical industry.
The thrift store exercise was created by investor and CNBC star Marcus Lemonis, whose role in the show involves deciding whether a small business is worth saving. Lemonis puts an investment into companies that he believes have a future. He may offer cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits.
CNBC show will air an episode that features from 10-11 p.m. Tuesday.
“At a Detroit-based denim business, the jeans are stiff … and so are the owners,” reads the CNBC promotion.
“One of them stamps out any idea that isn’t his own, while another obsesses about the smallest of details.”
Get ready for some rather unflattering portraits of the Detroit owners and their operation.
But ultimately, Yelsma — who agrees that he tended to nix ideas that weren’t his — said he appreciated the feedback and the opportunity to reconnect with the creative process that’s part of the clothing business. He said Marcus Lemonis brought a seasoned set of eyes to the business, so it was easier to take criticism.
Detroit Denim — which sells men’s jeans priced at $250 and women’s jeans priced at $200 — markets a “better fitting jean for you handmade in Detroit.”
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Owners said the company had hit a plateau and could not obtain financing to cover the costs involved with training employees to sew the jeans. Industrial sewing is a special skill set. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has a program called the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center Initiative that seeks to create jobs here in the clothing industry.
The company’s trouble finding financing made it willing to expose some quirky personalities on TV.
“We were not blind to the issues going on in our company,” said Brenna Lane, 32, who is an owner and product manager at Detroit Denim.
Overall, the owners admit that juggling a business and taping a reality TV show wasn’t all that easy.
“It was a very bizarre experience,” Lane said.
She acknowledged that the TV timeline would involve a few weeks for some tasks that realistically could take a business six months or more to accomplish.
“We’re doing all of this as we’re trying to run our own business,” Yelsma said.
Many times, Detroit Denim owners said they’ve been told that they need to move production offshore to lower costs. But that’s not a suggestion the owners are willing to follow. Too many times, some potential lenders would say they loved the brand and loved the idea but production needed to be done outside of the United States.
“First and foremost, Detroit is our home,” Lane said in a phone interview Monday.
“There’s no where else we can do it better,” Yelsma said.
Detroit Denim now has 12 employees at its Rivertown facility. The company makes 15 pairs of jeans a day. Earlier in the business, the company had operations in the Ponyride co-working space in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
Detroit Denim is sold online at . It has a store at 2987 Franklin St. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
The brand expects to expand to about a dozen or so individual boutiques across the country in 2018.
The two owners interviewed by phone Monday declined to say whether Lemonis, who is chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, will be part of Detroit Denim’s future. Viewers will learn that as part of the show on Tuesday.
The owners did say that they will adopt an idea to introduce a new line of clothing that involves repairing and designing new clothing out of vintage or thrift store pieces.
Lane said refocusing on the artistry involving in clothing was especially meaningful.
“When you’re a struggling small business, you can really get caught up in how are we going to make it through this week,” she said.
Susan Tompor: stompor or. Follow Susan on Twitter .
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