Detroit's newest mobility option has a stylish 72-year history

Transportation options have expanded dramatically in Detroit lately. Residents, workers, and visitors to the 7.2-square mile greater downtown region--including downtown, Midtown, Corktown, and beyond--have more mobility choices than ever before.

There are the rideshare options, like Uber and Lyft. There is the QLine, the streetcar that runs Woodward Avenue from downtown to New Center. There’s May Mobility, which recently deployed its fleet of self-driving shuttles. MoGo, the city’s expanding bikeshare system, has new bike lanes to cruise, too.

And then there are Bird and Lime, those electric scooter-share programs making news across the country. A third, Spin, is scheduled to enter the Detroit market soon.

These recent additions join old stalwarts like personal automobiles, DDOT buses, and even the People Mover. And often they work together, one connecting to another to offer more comprehensive coverage, like the recent DDOT and MoGo partnership.

Now there’s a new player in town. Vespa, that iconic and fashionable Italian scooter brand, is now on display at the Fisher Building in New Center.

Joe Ricci Automotive Group, the exclusive Vespa dealership for metro Detroit, has partnered with clothing boutique The Peacock Room to open a pop-up dealership at that store’s Fisher Building location.

“Everyone wants to be in Midtown. There are waiting lists to get in; space is scare,” Ricci says.

The pop-up runs through April 2019. Should it prove successful, and if the right storefront becomes available, Ricci would like to make a Detroit Vespa dealership a permanent fixture in Midtown.

As it works now, visitors can see the Vespas at the Peacock Room, where they can then register for a test-drive. Test-drives are free, but do require a $10 donation to the Humane Society. Interested parties then schedule a time to come to the Taylor dealership, where there is a ten minute-lesson and road course.

“[Peacock Room owner] Rachel Lutz called me and invited me to see the space, so I came to visit,” Ricci says.

“It’s a destination building. There’s the theater, shops, offices, the architecture, the tie-in with the Fisher Brothers. It’s a nice match with what we wanted to accomplish.”

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