Stories indexed with the term ‘retail’

Ann Arbor Council OKs The Shoppes

The site plan as well as the zoning for a proposed retail development at 3600 Plymouth Road, just west of US-23, has received final approval from the Ann Arbor city council. The vote on The Shoppes at 3600 came at the council’s March 18, 2013 meeting.

Aerial map of location for The Shoppes at 3600

Aerial map of the location for The Shoppes at 3600, located off of Plymouth Road west of US-23.

The developer hopes to build a 9,490-square foot, one-story retail building, to be constructed in what’s now the parking lot and front yard for a hotel, at an estimated … [Full Story]

Plymouth Retail Zoning Gets Initial OK

The zoning for a proposed retail development at 3600 Plymouth Road, just west of US-23, has received initial approval from the Ann Arbor city council.

The vote on initial approval of the rezoning – from R5 (motel-hotel district) to C3 (fringe commercial district) – came at the council’s Feb. 19, 2013 meeting. That followed a recommendation of approval given at the Jan. 15, 2013 meeting of the Ann Arbor planning commission. The project – called The Shoppes at 3600 – had been postponed by the commission on Nov. 7, 2012.

But on Jan. 15, commissioners recommended that the city council approve the project’s zoning, as well as the original site plan. At its Feb. 19 meeting, the city council did not … [Full Story]

Action Postponed on New Retail Development

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Nov. 7, 2012): Planning commissioners took a range of actions at their most recent meeting, and said farewell to one member.

The Shoppes at 3600 Plymouth, retail, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of a proposed retail development on Plymouth Road west of US-23 – The Shoppes at 3600. The site is in the complex where the Holiday Inn North Campus is located, visible on the right side of this image. This document was included in the planning commission’s Nov. 7 meeting packet.

Citing concerns over placement of the building on the site, commissioners postponed making a recommendation for a proposed retail development at 3600 Plymouth Road, immediately west of US-23. Called The Shoppes at 3600, the building is oriented with its back facing Plymouth. Commissioner Bonnie Bona, acknowledging the difficulty of positioning the building on this parcel, suggested that “perhaps this development is not right for this site.”

Also during the meeting, the commission continued the city’s ongoing annexation of township property by recommending the annexation of a Pittsfield Township parcel at 2503 Victoria, east of Packard Road. The recommendation includes zoning it for single-family residential (R1C) – a house is already under construction there.

An amendment to the city’s off-street parking ordinance was also recommended for approval. The change would allow more flexibility for temporary off-street parking for special events, such as hockey games at Michigan Stadium. Planning manager Wendy Rampson noted that there was not as much urgency to this amendment now, in light of the recent cancellation of the NHL’s Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

The commission also passed a resolution retroactively enabling three commissioners to attend the Michigan Association of Planning’s annual meeting, held on Oct. 17-19. The action enables commissioners to be reimbursed for their expenses.

The meeting closed with remarks of appreciation about and from commissioners Tony Derezinski and Evan Pratt, who are ending their terms. Derezinski, the commission’s representative from Ann Arbor city council, is leaving council after being defeated in the August Ward 2 Democratic primary by Sally Petersen. [Derezinski was subsequently, on Nov. 8, appointed by the council to planning commission as a citizen representative. It's expected that Sabra Briere (Ward 1) will be joining the commission as the council's next representative.] Pratt, elected as Washtenaw County water resources commissioner in the Nov. 6 general election, will be required to attend Tuesday evening meetings of the Washtenaw County parks and recreation commission, precluding membership on the planning commission, which also meets on Tuesdays. Pratt has served on the planning commission since 2004.

In the absence of chair Kirk Westphal, vice chair Wendy Woods led the Nov. 7 meeting. [Full Story]

Action Postponed on Plymouth Road Retail

The site plan and rezoning request for a new retail development – The Shoppes at 3600 – was postponed by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its Nov. 7, 2012 meeting. Commission discussion raised questions about the location of the building in the site plan, and about whether, if the site plan were not approved, the site should be rezoned. No date for reconsideration was set. The project would be located on the south side of Plymouth Road, west of US-12 US-23 and east of Green Road.

The plan calls for separating a 1.15-acre parcel off of an existing 10.85-acre hotel site, where the Holiday Inn North is now located. The smaller parcel would be rezoned from R5 (motel-hotel … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor, Give Me a Sign

Vicki Honeyman, Doug Wathen

Vicki Honeyman gives Doug Wathen a haircut in her shop, Heavenly Metal, which shares space with her other business, Vicki’s Wash & Wear Haircuts. In the background to the left is a sandwich board sign for Heavenly Metal, tucked into the corner since Honeyman was notified that it's illegal to put it outside the store.

Vicki Honeyman’s Heavenly Metal is easy to miss. Not only is it the sole retail shop on East Ann, but the business is also set back from the street. Until recently, Honeyman relied on a portable sign she set up on the northeast corner of East Ann and Fourth Avenue to bring in business. But earlier this month, a city official told her she had to take her sign down. In Ann Arbor, it’s illegal.

Honeyman says that since the city made her take her sign down, she’s seen a significant drop in the number of customers coming into Heavenly Metal. Without the sign, people don’t know her business is there.

“It’s completely affected my business,” Honeyman said, describing it as “devastating” to her income.

The Ann Arbor city council considered a measure in February that would have amended the sign ordinance to make portable signs legal, allowing businesses to buy annual permits to use them. But when that resolution was voted down, city officials decided to step up enforcement of the existing sign ordinance. Business groups and retailers have protested – it’s likely that city staff will propose a new permitting system for council to consider next month, one that’s based on sidewalk occupancy permits. [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]

The Shelves Are Getting Bare

PTO sign

Though the arrow points up, donations are actually down at the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop.

When The Chronicle came across a notice that the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop was facing some challenges, we caught AATA bus No. 6 to South Industrial’s Resale Row to get the details.

Susan Soth, the store’s manager, said that donations of clothes, housewares and other items are down 50% since early December, compared to a year ago. And though sales had been going gangbusters earlier in 2008, since early December they’ve been flat or slightly down. On Sundays, for example, they’d generally bring in more than $1,000 – recently sales have been closer to $800. The winter season is typically a slower time of year, Soth said, but “it’s never been this slow, and we’re not alone.” [Full Story]

Ciao, Bello Vino

Bello Vino at the Plymouth Mall, near Plymouth and Green.

Bello Vino at the Plymouth Mall, near Plymouth and Nixon.

On Saturday, TeacherPatti posted a Tweet about the upcoming closing of Bello Vino Marketplace, and on Monday The Chronicle took the #2 AATA bus to the Plymouth Mall store to check things out. If you didn’t already know the grocery was set to close on Jan. 15, the empty or thinly-stocked shelves would be your first clue. Or you might notice the grim-faced employees – one of them told The Chronicle that they were informed of the decision on Friday, the day after Christmas. “It was kind of a slap in the face,” she said. [Full Story]

Library Friends Make Space by Cutting Prices

A cart full of gift-quality books at the Friends of the Library.

A cart full of gift-quality books at the Friends of the Library bookshop.

The Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library receives over 200,000 books every year, but they found out on Dec. 4 that the area they use for sorting them will soon be shrinking by half. The other half of the space that they use currently will be needed to accommodate equipment and materials from the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, which the AADL recently assimilated. Part of the strategy to ease the space crunch is to suspend acceptance of donations effective immediately. Expect to see signage in the library to that effect soon. [Full Story]

Saying Good-bye to Steve & Barry’s


Charlise Brown holds a going-out-of-business sign on Friday at the southeast corner of Main and Liberty. The Steve & Barry's store is at 301 S. State.

Holding a sign that was about twice her height, Charlise Brown stood at the corner of Main and Liberty on Friday, bundled up in a hat, earmuffs, scarf and other winter gear.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cold,” she said, pulling down the scarf that warmed the lower part of her face. She and three others will be positioned around town through Sunday, paid to advertise the going-out-of-business sale at Steve & Barry’s clothing store at 301 S. State St. [Full Story]

Where’d You Get That?

Design on T-shirt sold at Middle Earth on South University.

Design on T-shirts and tote bags sold at Middle Earth on South University.

One fine early autumn day this week, The Chronicle strolled into Middle Earth looking for anything Ann Arborish. We had come to the right place.

Just this summer, the iconic South U shop started selling T-shirts and tote bags with an Ann Arbor design they’d come up with themselves, and had printed down the street at Underground Printing. The items were in response to demand, says store manager Hope Meadows.

During the summer art fairs, she said, shoppers would come into Middle Earth looking for something distinctly Ann Arbor – and not with the ubiquitous University of Michigan logo. Not having anything to offer and not wanting to lose those potential sales, they decided to make their own Ann Arbor-centric line.

That’s why the “Ann Arbor for Obama” bumper stickers were created, too, and pins with sayings like “I’d rather be in Ann Arbor.” [Full Story]