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GRDadof3

Possible retailers to lure downtown from the burbs

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In the next phase of our Retail Task Force, we're looking to brainstorm niche retailers that are out in the suburbs in random strip malls, that might make a good fit for downtown. We're looking for durable carry-out goods, small locally owned retailers.

One that comes to mind for me is Art Folk on 29th Street. A lot of interesting artwork and crafts with a backroom studio, that would make for an excellent gift shop downtown. Can you guys help us compile a list? Think about stores along Alpine, 28th in Wyoming, 28th in Kentwood, Cascade, 44th Street, etc.. We want to stay away from luring retailers out of the existing GR neighborhood centers like Creston or Alger Heights for instance.

We think there is a lot more potential for these stores downtown just by the sheer amount of foot traffic they would get, as opposed to the 40,000 cars that just drive right by every day and never stop. Hopefully once the great majority of storefronts are filled, downtown will start to attract even more retail infill.

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:

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AK Rikks comes to mind but I doubt they'd move. I think they've spent a lot of money building out their current space on 28th. I think with all the business men and the influx of the younger condo buyers they'd do great downtown. If you haven't been there they carry high-end suits as well as urban couture like john varvatos. They're very unique to west michigan with a collection you can't find outside of NYC, London, Chicago, LA, etc. The old city market may be big enough to fit them? Not really sure how big that space is.

I know you're looking for retail rather than food but I think downtown is the perfect next location for Sami's/The Pita House. They've been opening new locations all over the area, why not dt? I also think they are diff enough not to heavily compete with another fav - Olive Express. They'd be perfect for the old Two Choppers location.

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If not a Meijer downtown, what about an enlarged Kingma's grocery.

They have a great selection of produce and specialty items.

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Art Folk unfortunately went out of business. Always wondered how they survived as long as they did in that location.

GB Russos on 29th st would be a great addition downtown. Maybe just add a second smaller store to compliment its 29th location.

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One store out in the suburbs I can think of is Mark's Photo Shop.

Sparky, I immediately thought of Ryder's. :) You might know they make extensive use of their parking lots in the summer for RC race cars and other hobby stuff. Imagine RC car races and RC airplanes down Monroe center sidewalks and airspace! I do know they have quite the loyal customer base.

I believe my aunt has part ownership in the Ryder's out on 28th -- maybe for the hell of it I can pass along some information. She originally ran Hobby World(?) in one of the city neighborhoods back in the 80s that had a die hard customer base if I remember.

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Art Folk unfortunately went out of business. Always wondered how they survived as long as they did in that location.

GB Russos on 29th st would be a great addition downtown. Maybe just add a second smaller store to compliment its 29th location.

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World Market, Second Time Around, and Schulers seem like there is a market. I know in my hometown a Borders opened in an urban area where people said they wouldn't make it, and they were busy from open to close everyday. I don't think GB Russo and sons is interested in opening another location, something about how they had a second location and it took years off of his life....

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World Market, Second Time Around, and Schulers seem like there is a market. I know in my hometown a Borders opened in an urban area where people said they wouldn't make it, and they were busy from open to close everyday. I don't think GB Russo and sons is interested in opening another location, something about how they had a second location and it took years off of his life....

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I second the Schulers idea (couldn't they fit into some place?). I know that Borders in downtown Detroit surprised everyone with how well it did. Does Schulers put on concerts and sell music? It would be great to have a bookstore like the Borders in downtown Ann Arbor.

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After reading the first post, the 3 of these retailers came to mind:

Gazelle Sports (previously mentioned)

Schulers (previously mentioned)

Bill and Paul's.

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Radio Shack

EB Games

Old Navy

Apple Store

I think DT can do without art gift stores that close at 4:30 and dont open on Sundays.

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Art Folk unfortunately went out of business. Always wondered how they survived as long as they did in that location.

...

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Hey, I had to go fetch a new spoke for my back wheel at lunch, took 29th Street. Art Folk is still there. Looks like a thriving business (no clearance signage, no minimum-wagers holding stick signs). Couple cars in the lot, no wheels missing.

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My thoughts for DT retail needs

Full line Urban Format Supermarket

Pharmacy (Walgreens or Rite Aid)

Two types of Department Store one selling Meijer type of product lines for those on a budget and the other a traditional high end NYC style department store to cater to more affluent customers.

Then finish things off with a collection of niche and boutique stores and and assortment of restaurants and eateries.

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Ben Franklin.

Don't laugh. This was a general retailer (five-and-dime) store which is still around, similar to the now-defunct Woolworth's or the "everything else" aisles of Wal-CV-Aid. Whenever I see one (Bowling Green, Ohio sticks out, also Alpena or Alma or Tawas City) I stop in.

General goods, including light hardware, office supplies, socks & underwear, local T-shirts. Earmuffs and mittens. Penny candy. BG has a popcorn machine. Party supplies (any office types ever decorate a celebrant's cubicle? we used to at Detroit). Housewares (dishes, serving items), piece goods. Postcards and greeting cards.

ETA:

http://www.benfranklinstores.com/about_ben_franklin.asp

It's a franchise, independently owned, local selections are welcomed, for details see the link above.

[as part of my Econ Dev class, I invited one of the family dollar general stores to establish in the village of Pinckney, and a honcho wrote back and said that they planned to]

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Coldstone Creamery in the old Two Choppers place.

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For this exercise, we're going to say that no idea is a bad idea. We'd love to get about 15 retailers to target, assuming that 1/2 of them will make the cut. There are 6 or 7 spots open along and directly adjacent to Monroe Center.

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Maybe it was done on the survey the other night, but it'd be great to see a categorized list of the shops we already have there so we can better assess what is needed (e.g. Jimmy John's - sandwich shop; Little Bohemia- clothing/shoes/gifts). Then we could assess each space to see what it can accommodate (size, facilities) and what would best fit there. For example, a Hobby Shop is not personally interesting to me, but I wouldn't care if there was a CVS, grocery store, 'anchor' restaurant (like a BW3s) and book/music store on Monroe Center. I wish I had the time or knowledge to do this now, but it's an idea.

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Maybe it was done on the survey the other night, but it'd be great to see a categorized list of the shops we already have there so we can better assess what is needed (e.g. Jimmy John's - sandwich shop; Little Bohemia- clothing/shoes/gifts). Then we could assess each space to see what it can accommodate (size, facilities) and what would best fit there. For example, a Hobby Shop is not personally interesting to me, but I wouldn't care if there was a CVS, grocery store, 'anchor' restaurant (like a BW3s) and book/music store on Monroe Center. I wish I had the time or knowledge to do this now, but it's an idea.

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Sorry parhelion. this photo tour should give you a pretty good idea of what is available on Monroe Center. The main vacancies and approximate square footages (they're not listed so I have to approximate square footage) moving from West to East:

1) The old Hallmark store next to Subway in the Founders Trust bldg - maybe 2000 - 2500 square feet

2) The old Two Choppers space at Ottawa and Monroe Center - maybe 1000 - 1500 square feet, probably good for a small eatery, fudge or ice cream shop

3) 1/2 of Van Hoeck's shoes space on the corner of Ottawa and Monroe Center - maybe 1000 - 1500 square feet, could be art, gifts, small clothing store, right across the street from the new Art Museum and its cafe

4) The River Bank Books spot - 10,000 square feet, entrances on Fountain and Monroe Center

5) The old Fox Jewelry store and a space next door (that used to be a deli I believe) - appears to be two spaces, maybe 5000 square feet combined, both look narrow and deep, next door to Ron Neihoff photo gallery and Christian Science Reading Room in the Michigan Natl bldg - could be virtually anything,

6) The old City Market spot in the Peck Bldg - about 5000 - 7000 square feet sort of double wide, would make a great shoe or apparel store, market, hobby shop, etc.; wedged between XO Asian Cuisine and Little Bohemia/Angina (sp?)

7) A long and narrow ground floor space in the Front Row Condos building, next door to West Coast Coffee and the wig shop - about 1800 - 2000 square feet (18' x about 100')

The main thing that we believe is that there needs to be durable goods retailers if at all possible. A collection of those kinds of stores will help with synergy and might help keep some of the other stores stay open later. As GRTP mentioned in another thread, most retail spending occurs after 5:30 and on weekends. Right now, the MC food court closes soon afterward.

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