By Stefani Chudnow | Photos by Jerry Zolynsky
Looking at its exterior, you’d never know that an internationally recognized consignment shop sits right on the cusp of Keego Harbor. While modest on the outside, Le Shoppe Too is Metro Detroit’s largest upscale mid-century modern store at 17,000 square feet. This shop boasts a substantial fine art and iconic 20th-century furniture collection, much of which is shipped all over the world.
Opened in 2013, the shop is owned by three Jewish women: Deborah Slobin of Farmington Hills, a member of Temple Israel; Leslie Weisberg of West Bloomfield, a member of Bais Chabad and Congregation Shaarey Zedek; and Julie Sundberg of Walled Lake. Terri Stearn of Farmington Hills, a member of Congregation Beth Ahm, operates Detroit Fine Art Appraisals from the same building.
With multiple credentials, including Stearn’s rare art accreditation and Weisberg’s high-ranking estate liquidation accreditation, this team of strong women is dynamic.
“We’ve got a consignment retail store, an estate sale company, art appraisals, an auction house and in-house shipping,” Slobin said. “Nobody else does all of that under one roof. We have so many different avenues to take care of our clients, from furnishing their homes to selling their pieces.”
With all their knowledge and expertise, it’s no surprise this team is equipped to handle a lot. Sometimes, they’ve even come across hidden treasures no one thought were worth anything.
“One time, we went to a house to do a preliminary appraisal for an estate sale and the family didn’t know what they had,” Slobin said. “Because of Terri’s and Leslie’s expertises, they were able to spot a small sculpture that the family thought was a nothing piece. It turned out to be a Harry Bertoia, who is a very important designer here in Michigan. It sold for more than $25,000.”
Weisberg said often people think “shiny, pretty and old” is valuable, “when sometimes rugged, vintage and not-so-attractive to the naked eye is actually more valuable.”
Another time, Stearn came across what the owners called a “junk chair” they were going to throw out. Le Shoppe Too ended up selling it for $6,000.
Some customers aren’t always so ready to get rid of their possessions, however.
“There’s a lot of emotions when giving away your possessions,” Weisberg said. “We become like therapists, in some respects, because we need to get them through the process and realize that this is an emotional thing and it’s not always cut-and-dried. That’s how we get so close to our clients.”
Throughout its 16 years in the estate business, Le Shoppe Too has forged deep connections with many individuals. Their iconic furniture can be found in people’s homes around the world. It can also be found in an Oscar-winning movie, thanks to one of their favorite clients.
“We joke and say that we technically have an Oscar,” Slobin said. “Last year at the Oscars, the movie The Shape of Water won Best Picture and Best Production Design. That connects back to us because Shane Vieau, who won for his set decoration, is a client of ours. He actually came to our store and bought the furniture for that movie.”
Michigan is significant to mid-century modern collectors. A great deal of mid-century modern artists came through Cranbrook Academy of Art.
“People come from all over the world to shop in Michigan because collectors know they will find the finest pieces here,” Slobin said. “It’s a hub.”
Stearn said, “This community really knew what they were doing. They have always been collecting art, collecting pieces they knew were important.”
Auction House Added
As if running in-person businesses and their five online shops wasn’t enough, the ladies of Le Shoppe Too and Detroit Fine Art Appraisals are opening a new joint business, Le Shoppe Auction House.
“My little joke is that Le Shoppe Too consignment store and Detroit Fine Art Appraisals got married and the baby they had is Le Shoppe Auction House,” Slobin said with a smile.
Starting March 15, people can pre-bid for items internationally. Then, on March 31, Le Shoppe Too Auction House’s first virtual auction begins (and ends). It will focus on fine art, iconic 20th-century furniture, ceramic glass and sculpture, and will include art from artists such as Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselman and Frank Stella.
Typically, an auction house takes around 25 percent of the final sale, but Le Shoppe Too Auction House’s first auction is going to be particularly special.
“As a thank you to the community, we’re going to offer all consignors 100 percent of the sale for the March 31 auction only,” Slobin said. “We want people to know that this is happening in their own community. A women-owned business with a lot of experience starting an auction house is offering things that many auction houses, both here in Michigan and around the country, don’t offer. We think we’re different and unique in that way.”
Weisberg said, “In the future, we’ll be competitively priced for all upcoming auctions. In that respect, we definitely are better than the competition.”