The fantastic story of Michael Reese and the Hip Hop Shop: A family remembers

Submitted photo The old Michael’s Hip Hop Shop

Continuing the legacy of a cherished dream

The grand reopening of Michael’s Apparel, formerly known as Michael’s Hip Hop Shop, was held on Sat. Oct. 5. Located just two blocks east of its original location on Lake St. in South Minneapolis, Michael’s Apparel is the continuation of the dream of a local man—Michael Reese.

Michael was the proud owner of one of the only Black-owned businesses on Lake Street for over 30 years. This is the story of his dream, his legacy, and the family-centered business that will continue to serve our community.

He was a family man first, and a businessman second. On any given day you could find Michael on Lake Street sitting out in front of his store. He could also be inside jaw-jacking with customers or hanging out with his granddaughter Camille or his wife, also Camille, whom he lovingly referred to as Kandi.

Michael Reese

Established in 1988, on Broadway Ave. in Minneapolis, Michael’s Apparel was a store that sold the latest fashions, promised fair prices, and was a model business that demonstrated how a Black man could thrive and create business for his own community.

In 1991, Michael had the idea to relocate to Lake Street and establish Michael’s Hip Hop Shop: Clothing for Men and Women. Offering up to 9X in shirts and size 56 in pants, there was not a body the store couldn’t fit, and not a soul it could not speak to.

Everyone loved—and still loves—Michael. He was known as Hubby, Michael, Big Mike, Uncle Mike, Mr. Hip Hop, Pops, and Papa…and a strong Black man.

However, his pride stayed with the Hip Hop Shop on 736/738 E. Lake Street. When Michael was not at the store “eight days a week” as he would call it, he would be hanging out with friends and family, and most importantly, his Kandi.

Michael would go on to open many other stores such as C’s Fashion, Eastside Discount Clothing, a Rochester location, and finally one in the Midtown Global Market.

He loved to shoot pool at family get-togethers, talk fast and loud and just generally be the most fun and kind person you could ever wish to be in the presence of. Whether he was having deep conversations about the state of the world, delving deep into his faith at church, reading the Bible, selling clothes, or being together with family, he was always Hubby, Pops, Uncle Mike, and Papa.

This is not the end of Michael’s story, however; it is the continuation. When he passed on February 8, 2019, it forever changed our lives. As his son, Joe takes up the mantle and re-opens Michael’s Apparel with the support of his mother Camille, his Pops, Joe Powers, his daughter Camille, his brothers Matrece and Michael, and many other friends and family, Michael’s grace and joy shine down.

We would like to thank each and every one of you—friends, family, and customers—you are what kept this dream going. You are the support that we need in order to get through the tough times as well as the good. Without your continuous support for over three decades, Michael’s Apparel would not be open today.

Please join us in not only the celebration of Michael’s life but also the celebration of Michael’s dream. We hope that you will continue to support this dream for 30 more years—and beyond.

Michael’s Apparel is located on 1108 E. Lake Street in South Minneapolis. Store hours are from 11 am-8 pm Mon-Sat., and 11 am-6 pm on Sun. For more info, call 612-601-5474.

—Story provided by the family of Michael Reese.