Je T’aime, Detroit: Introducing Shinola Love Locks

BY Taylor Rebhan

“We’re excited to have people lock their love or a special memory right here in Detroit, the Paris of the Midwest. It’s something locals and visitors can enjoy,” said Shinola Creative Director Daniel Caudill.

At our Woodward store location, guests can now purchase a lock to hang on the Shinola Love Locks fence nestled in Parker’s Alley behind the Shinola Hotel. The lock features a dial charm that can be engraved with initials and comes with two keys that the couple can wear or just keep as personal mementos.

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The locks are both beautiful and durable, manufactured in our own backyard (Troy, Mich.) by Commando Lock Company, which was founded in 2006.

The company’s dedication to quality craftsmanship and American manufacturing makes them the perfect partner for Shinola.

“We’re truly one of the only American manufacturers of padlocks. For the amount of locks that are used in the U.S. you’d be surprised that 90% are imported,” said Commando Lock Founder Patrick Smith, who comes from a long family line of manufacturers.

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Matt Damman, CEO, and Patrick Smith, Founder and President of Commando Lock Company

Watching Smith in the Commando Lock factory in Troy, you can almost feel his passion as he shows visitors the impressive process of building a Commando Lock with a Willy Wonka-like wonder. 

Smith utilized an innovative stamping process he and his father developed for the auto industry years ago and applied it to padlock manufacturing, establishing a new level of security and durability with his products.

Each lock for Shinola is stamped out of one solid piece of brass for quality assurance and features a unique recurved design that helps protect the guts from hammer blows. According to Smith, it would take 5,000 pounds of force to break one of his locks apart.

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Aside from the joy he finds in his work, Smith’s home is his heart.

“Everything I designed was to enable us to continue manufacturing in America,” said Smith. “I could have easily sent it overseas, but it was about keeping jobs in the U.S. Having the ability to make a product right here was critical.”

The company’s CEO, Matthew Damman, also has deep local roots growing up in the Damman Hardware family hardware business—adding an extra layer of credibility to an already bustling enterprise. The pair is happy their padlocks are playing a leading role in the new Shinola Love Locks tradition.

“We’re so thrilled to partner with Shinola on such a creative project for the brand, and also for the city of Detroit. We’re also proud that the quality of our Detroit-made Commando Locks will help couples from all over the world secure their love and leave a memory here,” said Damman.

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The locks at Shinola Woodward retail for $25 each with complimentary engraving.

“I think the Love Locks is a terrific idea. I think you’re going to need a bigger wall, we make heavy locks,” joked Smith. “Bringing in a beautiful piece of mechanical art for people to use in different ways is great.”

Whether you’re celebrating your wedding day at Shinola Hotel or just looking for a way to lock in your love, come pay us a visit at Parker’s Alley in Detroit.

Share your pictures on social media using #ShinolaLoveLocks.  

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