Life Unplugged's grand opening set to redefine retail experience

The most prominent intersection in downtown Mt. Pleasant has a new retailer: Life Unplugged. For over eight years, they’ve been an online apparel retailer, spreading awareness of their mission that supports a lifestyle of using technology responsibly, while giving back to families of children born with congenital heart defects. 

Since October, they’ve been fulfilling apparel orders and doing renovations within the former Isabella Community Credit Union location at the corner of Broadway and Main streets in downtown Mt. Pleasant. Come Friday, April 26, they’ll open their brick-and-mortar retail store to the public with a grand opening event—but customers can expect it to be much more than only a retail shop. 

“I want to make this place an awesome place for the community,” shares Dylan Banagis, co-founder and CEO of Life Unplugged. “It will fulfill our mission of getting people unplugged, and give them an option to buy in person if they’d like to, and have conversations with us. But mainly, to come in, hang out, and have a cup of coffee with someone.” 

Life Unplugged’s new brick-and-mortar shop is currently being transformed into a multi-faceted space for people to connect, play games, shop, and enjoy snacks and drinks together. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. PleasantPhoto Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Life Unplugged will offer their own Life Unplugged-branded drip coffee, pre-packaged cookies made by Ignite Donuts, and other drinks for purchase. 

Plus, board games, foosball, a pool table, and books will be available for customers who come in—activities encouraging them to unplug and be present with the people they’re spending time with at the shop. 

In fact, the store will not have Wi-Fi access to further promote their mission of being unplugged. They’ll even provide a discount to people if they choose to put their cell phone in a safety deposit box during their visit. 

These safety deposit boxes were originally used by the bank that existed prior to Life Unplugged moving in. They will be behind the counter to hold customers’ cell phones in exchange for a discount on purchases. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
“It’s really cool to see the mission of trying to get people off their phones kinda grow as technology is growing,” explains Banagis. “There’s a huge movement of technology, but there’s also a niche movement of the opposite: the rebellion against technology. And we’re not saying technology is bad by any means—it’s a very good tool we need to utilize to get by in the world today. It’s just a matter of using technology responsibly.” 

“And that's kind of what we do,” he continues. “We give resources to help people use technology responsibly, but we also provide them with clothing that reminds them to look up from their screens and be present with the people around them.”

Some of Life Unplugged’s best sellers include tee shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and hoodies. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant

Currently, Life Unplugged sells lounge wear adorned with “Unplug” and “Be Present” messages, along with over 50 designs to choose from, such as kayaking, camping, biking and fishing. 

However, they’re also working on an expansion of their product offerings. Outdoor gear and laser-engraved items such as wallets, keychains, and tumblers are just a few items they’re planning to create.

Life Unplugged will soon be offering new products, including keychains like this one. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant

A print-on-demand station is another highlight of Life Unplugged’s new brick-and-mortar shop. Customers will have the opportunity to select a wide range of options—from shirt designs, to colors, and styles—then watch their apparel be created by staff in the on-site production facility. 

“With us having over 50 designs at all times, we're never going to be able to display that in a way that shows every single item and every single garment,” shares Banagis. “So, we're going have a print-on-demand station where people will be able to search through our designs, search through the colors of garments, and the types of garments, and then they can order it; we’ll print it right there for them and they can watch it be done. Then they’ll see the process of how we fulfill orders online, but it’ll be in person and they can take it home right there.”

Dylan Banagis presses a shirt in their production facility, viewable from customers in the store. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant

Banagis has plans of offering “Unplug and Press” events for small groups in the future, where people can choose their own designs, shirts, colors, and learn about the Life Unplugged product creation process. Banagis says at these events, people will be able to press their own garments. 

The store’s open floor plan concept allows space for customers to hang out, shop, and also view Life Unplugged’s production facility. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant

“What we're really excited for is this whole movement of trying to make downtown a destination, and I do believe we’re fulfilling that for the community,” shares Banagis. “We’ll be providing them a spot downtown to hang out and be together with people. With being across the street from the new green space, and the park is close, and the bike shop and coffee shops next door … I think it can start to be a cool spot for people; and, hopefully it encourages other businesses to come downtown, too.”

Banagis invites the community to be part of Life Unplugged’s grand opening event on Friday, April 26. The store will open to the public at 9 a.m., and starting at 4 p.m., live music, free food, games, and giveaways will be offered in celebration of their opening.

To learn more about Life Unplugged, visit their website,
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Read more articles by Courtney Jerome.

With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at