FYI, Hogarth Management, which currently owns the building, is Tom Borders' company. After the Borders brothers sold their namesake bookstore to KMart, they moved to Texas but retained some Ann Arbor real estate. While it might be nice to have a unique, funky kind of retailer in that spot, who, but a big chain is going to be able to lease that big of a space? And, as someone pointed out above, it started out as a national chain store, so it's just coming full circle.
I would prefer to see something like a small market, even a chain similar to a Tesco Express. Something with fresh produce and dairy, pantry items, and baked goods at regular prices instead of jacked up convenience store prices. @mady - no I haven't seen their prices but I know they're cheaper than the places I mentioned. They have expensive gourmet goods on their shelves, but they also have every day staples at cheaper prices than anyone else. They're also locally owned, support local products, and they're creating jobs (I noticed you posted about White Market - I've seen the former owner Dave working there now). If I have to pay 10 cents more for something I'd rather buy it at babo than Tesco Express, Whole Foods, Kroger, or any other chain because they give back. All babo seems to do is grow and get busier by the day so I'm not surprised at all they're doing so well. Not that I agree with a Walgreens 200ft away from CVS, but you've got a small market right around the corner that sells a ton of LOCAL products, dairy, produce, fresh baked goods, at prices cheaper than Whole Foods, Plum, etc. I've lived in Ann Arbor since 2005 and the rate of chain store installations on the 'State Street main drag' has dramatically increased.
What's more, each new chain has displaced a local establishment (e.g. 711 replaced local camera shop, Five Guys took out historic Shaman Drum bookstore, CVS replaced antique shop. We already have a CVS right down the street, the 'market' doesn't need sustain two of the exact same stores selling overpriced candy and bagged snacks. I hope AA's planners are proactive in preserving the unique business atmosphere that the city fosters. Otherwise, Ann Arbor will continue to look more and more like East Lansing. I agree with you, but in reference to your last paragraph, it's already too late. I worked at the one-hour photo lab at Ritz Camera in 1988. I've lived in Ann Arbor since 1993 and before that lived here as a kid. One of the things that really makes it hard to live in the downtown and uptown area is the lack of drug stores like CVS or Walgreens. Also, the fact that the last downtown hardware store, Schlenker's, closed down doesn't help. I hear you all complaining, but to me, this is something that will help to sustain the state street area and keep the vitality. The more people that are around the area, the better for business and the better for the town. It's a growing city, with a lot more going for it than many other cities in Michigan, much less the nation! BTW, Five Guys is better than McDonald's, so thank your lucky stars. Shaman's was gone before Five Guys came along and it didn't look as though anyone else was seriously looking at the space. I remember when Middle Earth used to be on State St. It's not like 5 guys came to Shaman Drum and demanded that Shaman Drum go. The bookstore went belly up, and someone else took its place. If AA.com commenters had shopped at all of the failed "local" stores half as often as they complain about them going out of business, they would still be around. Neither Michigan Book and Supply, nor Kresge was local. On the other hand, the building started life as a Woolworth's five and dime. At least it was that when I grew up in Ann Arbor before Ulrich's. On a side note: Check out the analysis I wrote in November 2011 about the possibility of Walgreens snapping up the former downtown Borders. It seemed far-fetched at the time, but looks like it wasn't too far off! http://www.annarbor.com/business-review/walgreens-snaps-up-former-borders-store-in-birmingham-what-about-ann-arbor/ Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.
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