Find your active apparel and sportswear at Empire Sports in Oak Park – Detroit Free Press

Find your active apparel and sportswear at Empire Sports in Oak Park – Detroit Free Press

Empire Sports in Oak Park is a new one-stop shop for your fitness and sportswear needs.   

Not only can you find entrepreneur Michaelyn Roberson’s brand Noir Sportswear in store, but you can also find apparel for your favorite sports team, purchase school uniforms or get customized items, adding on school and individual names. 

“When I started out, the brand was just focused on women,” said Roberson, 35, a Detroit native who now lives in Oak Park, “and I wanted to create something that was more inclusive, especially when we talk about living healthier lifestyles.”

Roberson grew up in Detroit and attended Redford High School.

Making the decision to launch the store in Oak Park, where she recently moved, was easy for Roberson. She liked that the area is small, but has all of the necessities of a community, like a grocery store, an eye doctor, a few urgent cares and the Oak Park Public Safety Department. She knew that she wanted her business to be located near competitors and other businesses that she could benefit from.

So she placed her business next door to a Planet Fitness.

Now, Empire Sports is located at 13181 West Ten Mile Road in Oak Park, and Roberson said it is the only Black female-owned sporting goods store in the city. The Noir Sportswear brand includes hoodies, shorts and pants, which all provide four-way stretch and breathable material. But the Empire Sports umbrella carries something for the whole family. 

Roberson’s brand has been around for a while. She created it after realizing there was a need in the community for workout clothing. She said when people wanted quality clothing, they had to go to large brands like LuluLemon or Nike. Roberson said many people have to take the step of going to the mall to purchase these brands, and she wanted them to be available locally. So she started the business in 2017, and residents have been purchasing workout clothing and can find those large brands at a cheaper rate at Empire Sports, she says.

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She is also a Round 9 space awardee of Motor City Match, a financial assistance program through a partnership between the city of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Economic Development Corporation of the city of Detroit and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As a space awardee, Roberson was shown the ropes on how to acquire a space, negotiate leasing deals and receive technical services. Eventually, she wants to expand her business, and her next location will be in Detroit. 

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Fitness sports