Located at 508 South Washington in Downtown Royal Oak
If you’re familiar with Washington Avenue in Downtown Royal Oak, you have seen the imaginative window displays and colorful bright blue awning at 508 South Washington. This is the home of Scout, a home decor shop carrying modern and vintage accessories. Scout is this week’s featured business in the spotlight.
“Anybody with an appreciation for the 60s & 70s and rock music can find something at Scout,” says Pam McLenon, Scout’s owner. That seems to be true with the vibrant colors, the modern design, and the air of nostalgia that hits you when you walk into the store. But Scout is so much more than a store for music lovers. McLenon adds that “Scout is a casual, fancy, vintage, brand-new, sleek, ornate, matte, sparkling kind of place full of nifty gifts, artful home decor, and luxe bath & body products.”
“Scout is a diverse collection of old and new. We only carry products that really resonate with us, items you would find in our own homes or that we would personally give as gifts. Both of us are passionate about vintage, we’re collectors of beautiful things rich in history and full of design.”
From their selection of mid-century ashtrays to thoughtful rock-heavy playlists, Scout’s inventory caters to a diverse array of design-savvy individuals, from professionals in both the interior design and advertising fields to students hungry for inspiration. McLenon acknowledges that her small business is a community hub. “We’re constantly sparking nostalgic and humorous conversations with our customers and that makes this place feel special to us. I think it gives Scout an intimate and familiar environment this way.”
McLenon founded Scout in September of 2009, but she’s no stranger to entrepreneurship. “I grew up playing in my parent’s party store in Detroit. I guess entrepreneurship runs in the family.” She runs the store with her business associate, Gregory. Together, they do all of the buying, merchandising, and selling. “With an extensive career in retail under my belt, I decided to take the plunge and start my first business in Royal Oak, twenty years ago, just down the street from where Scout is now.”
McLenon admits that online purchasing is changing the world of retail. Although many consumers are relying more and more on electronic shopping, Scout has a great strength in that it possesses a loyal customer base. There’s no way to truly experience the cultural immersion that Scout provides merely by viewing its inventory online. Visiting the store itself is an experience.
Not surprisingly, most of Scout’s customers are from the metro area but its reputation precedes itself. Every day, Scout gets shoppers through the doors who are from all over the world. “We’re very lucky to have a loyal customer base constantly advertising for us through word of mouth. Other than that, we primarily donate to local charities or use social media platforms for our advertising. I’ve always recognized and appreciated the loyalty of the customers in Royal Oak, so when I decided to open Scout, it was a no brainer.”
Scout has also been working to increase their online presence in addition to persistently staying on the cutting edge of that unique in-store experience that customers can only receive through shopping at brick and mortars.
Scout doesn’t just fit in with Downtown Royal Oak’s trendy culture, it does a great deal to drive the narrative that Downtown is a place for art, culture, and the appreciation of good design. “We love our little strip on Washington. We’re surrounded by some very creative and talented small business owners that have become our friends over the years. In many ways it just feels like the perfect home for Scout.”
Visit Scout as soon as you can for the full experience and see for yourself. Scout is open from 11-6 Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. 11 - 7 Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.