Stories indexed with the term ‘Zingerman’s’

In It For The Money: Presidential Stinkburger

The President of the United States visited Ann Arbor on April 2. If you want to know what he said, you can read a faithful transcript right here, or just watch the unedited remarks.

David Erik Nelson Column

David Erik Nelson

But none of that puts you in the room with the PotUS. Hearing the same four presidential soundbites about Zingerman’s and minimum wage played over and over again on the radio certainly gives you the gist of what was said; none of it was earth shattering.

In fact, I’d wager that most Chronicle readers could generate a fairly accurate facsimile of the remarks made by the PotUS working strictly from First Principles. You know what politicians are like: Y’all a good looking crowd! God bless America! Handshake-babykiss-SMILE! You know what excites East Coasters about Ann Arbor: Zingerman’s! Sportsball! Wolverines! And you know how PotUS stands on the minimum wage: Raise it!

None of that puts you in the room.

And you’re likely inclined to say: So what? What’s the use of being in the room? What’s the bother of showing up in a specific time and place to see something that’ll be on YouTube ten minutes after it happens, to be watched at my leisure? Hell, Dave: Why did you bother wasting so many hours to be in that room? Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

And, while I do have better things (or at least better paid things) to do with my time, there’s always value in being in the room. In abstract, there’s value because being in the room is The Job. It’s what I’ve said I will do for you: I will show the hell up, and tell you what the hell I saw. This is the baseline contract any newspaper should have with its readers.

And specifically, on this occasion, there was value in being in the room because some things do not come across in articles and the op-eds and the clips and soundbites – not even in the unedited audio or video. There are intangibles – including all of the things that are outside the frame of the camera, too far away for the mics to pick up, or of little interest to the reporters on hand. [Full Story]

Detroit & Kingsley

Mike at Zingerman’s Deli demonstrates how he can write in a style that matches the font used in Zingerman’s signs. He says he gives certain letters his own personal twist, but otherwise it’s dead-on. [photo]

A2: “Thrive-able” Wages

In an opinion piece published by the Detroit News, Zingerman’s co-founder Paul Saginaw describes his company’s efforts to pay its food-service workers more than the federally mandated living wage. He writes: ”We would be irresponsible employers if the jobs we provided could not support housing stability and health security. So we are motivated to gradually raise wages to a ‘thrive-able level’ for all of our lowest-paid employees across the board. A living wage is the path to a living economy and the antidote to the current suicide economy trajectory we find ourselves on.” [Source]

A2: Business

An article on RH Reality Check explores the efforts by Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s to develop a “thriveable wage” for its employees. Excerpts from a vision statement: “Higher wages lead to higher morale and is the engine that keeps everything spiraling upward. In many cases, productivity increases due to lowered stress levels in the lives of the people in our organization because of assurance that their financial needs are covered.” [Source]

Zingerman’s: Making It Right for the HDC

Employees at Zingerman’s Deli – or any of the Zingerman’s family of businesses – are trained to handle complaints from customers with a five-step process. The third step: Make it right.

Zingerman's Deli Building

Plans to build an addition behind the brick Zingerman’s Deli building will ultimately require approval from the city’s historic district commission. (Photos by the writer.)

Zingerman’s itself is “handling a complaint” from the city’s Historic District Commission (HDC) – one that can be traced back to a June 2008 Zingerman’s request to demolish two houses, which are located in the city’s Old Fourth Ward historic district.

Now Zingerman’s is bringing back another proposal, but this time they’re not starting formally with the HDC. Instead, they’ll begin by seeking approvals from the city’s planning commission and the city council.

The site plan calls for a two-story, 9,500-square-foot structure to be added to the rear of the deli building, which will carry a price tag of around $4 million. The new building would replace the house at 322 E. Kingsley St. and extend lengthwise towards Community High School.

Zingerman’s started satisfying the formal steps for getting approval of their expansion project this week, on Monday, March 8, by holding a citizens participation meeting.

But Zingerman’s has also met informally with the HDC at two separate work sessions since the start of the year – one in January and the other on Thursday, March 11. Based on a significant change in design between those two meetings, which integrates “the orange house” into the project instead of demolishing it, Zingerman’s is trying to “make it right” for the HDC.

Still, at Thursday’s HDC work session, the Zingerman’s team stressed how great the challenges were – financial and logistical – to preserving the orange house as part of the project design. It seemed apparent that Zingerman’s was making an implicit pitch for members of the HDC to give a green light for the previously proposed project – the one minus both houses. [Full Story]

Can I Have a Peace of Your Sandwich?

Governor Granholm with  Peace Neighborhood director and student.

The fundraiser drew visitors from across the region, including the woman in this photograph, who said she drove down from Lansing. Terry Jackson, foreground, is a member of the Peace Neighborhood Center drum corps, which was on hand to perform. At right is Bonnie Billups, Jr., executive director of the center.

When former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr arrived Thursday evening at the Zingerman’s Raucus Caucus fundraiser to benefit the Peace Neighborhood Center, he had no linemen blocking for him.

So Michael Hedin – whose Townie’s Two Step team was competing in the fundraiser’s sandwich design contest – wheeled around from his conversation with us to pitch to Carr the virtues of his team’s two-meat sandwich. The coach was there to help judge the sandwich design contest at the heart of the fundraiser – and he was wise to Hedin’s angle: “Yeah, I always used to talk to the officials before the game, too!”

A few minutes later, Gov. Jennifer Granholm delivered remarks that kicked off the event, which raised around $18,000 for the neighborhood center, according to Rick Strutz, a managing partner of Zingerman’s Deli.   Located on Maple Road near Miller Avenue, Peace Neighborhood offers after-school programming and tutoring for elementary and middle school students.  [Full Story]

Shhhhh…Zingerman’s Has a Secret


Brad Hedeman, who handles marketing and purchasing for Zingerman's Mail Order, in their temporary retail store (the front entry for the warehouse).

According to Mo Frechette, they miss seeing customers out there in warehouse land. Toni Morell says they’re bored during off season. There’s also some inventory they’d like to move at discounted prices, Frechette says, so “why not do it as a hush-hush locals-only thing?”

The Chronicle suspects that Zingerman’s fans won’t really care why the managing partners of Zingerman’s Mail Order decided to open a super low-key discount retail store – they’ll just care about the when, where and what.

So here’s the deal: Every Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting last Friday and running for 21 weeks, the warehouse at 610 Phoenix Drive will be selling 21 types of items at deep discounts – including some things priced at $21 – to anyone who happens to stop by. The stock will be different each week, though there’ll likely be some overlap, too – you can sign up to get weekly emails alerting you to what’s on offer.

When we stopped by on March 13, the venture’s kickoff day, we watched a steady stream of people drop in – mostly from the surrounding industrial park, which includes the Borders Group headquarters and the Ann Arbor Learning Community, a charter school. Frechette said they’d told some of the surrounding businesses about it – plus there’s a sign at the entrance to their driveway – but otherwise, only some “leakage” about the store on Facebook and the blogosphere. Yet word is getting out. [Full Story]