Ypsilanti deserves better than a Family Dollar store on Water Street

    Certain kinds of businesses do well in times of great economic uncertainty. Chief among them are so-called “variety stores” and “dollar stores.” As Howard Levine, the CEO of Family Dollar, one of America’s leading chains operating in this sector recently said to the press, “In today’s uncertain economic environment, value continues to resonate… Our strategy continues to attract not only our core low-income customer, but also middle-income customers with increased frequency.” And, with that in mind, Family Dollar continues to grow. Earlier this year, in fact, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based chain announced plans to open 500 new stores. And, as of yesterday, we learned that the company was interested in putting one of these 500 stores in downtown Ypsilanti, on Water Street. Here’s a clip from AnnArbor.com.

    …Ypsilanti received a letter of intent from Core Resources, Inc. to purchase 1.25 acres of the 38-acre site.The property is currently owned by the city and Core, on behalf of its client Family Dollar Stores of Michigan, will pay $210,000 to purchase the land.

    Core Resources, Inc. and Family Dollar have negotiated the initial terms including a concept site plan for the property and related building elevations for the potential development based on draft zoning for the Water Street Development…

    The purchase of the property will be at market rate and will not require any special incentives from the city. The Ypsilanti City Council will consider approving the letter of intent at its Tuesday meeting, said Mayor Paul Schreiber. If council approves the letter of intent, Core is requesting that the city remove that portion of the Water Street area from the market.

    The letter of intent is a non-binding agreement between the city and Core to work for a term of no more than three months on a development agreement…

    Ypsilanti’s Mayor, Paul Schreiber, according to the article, is enthusiastic. “I’m in support of it because, first off the building they’re proposing conforms with a lot of the guidelines the planning commission came up with for the Water Street property,” Schreiber told them. “I think that store will bring a lot of foot traffic in the area. I think those two things are major considerations. We have to get started somewhere.”

    Unfortunately, many of our downtown business owners don’t share his optimism. Paul Balcom, the owner of Ypsilanti’s beloved Rocket has gone on the record asking Council to consider the proposal carefully before moving forward. “I strongly recommend city officials investigate where Family Dollars locate and how they benefit those neighborhoods,” said Balcom. “This is detrimental to those who are working so hard to create a ‘go to’ downtown… and to those that frequent these local, unique businesses.” Leslie Leland of Mix said simply, “HORRIBLE IDEA! HORRIBLE! NO!”

    And, I, somewhat uncharacteristically, took to Facebook to rant upon hearing the news.

    In the interest of fairness, some people appear to support our Mayor, sharing his opinion that it would, all things considered, be a positive for Ypsilanti. Here, for instance, is a comment left on AnnArbor.com by a fellow named Chase Ingersoll.

    Family Dollar is a precise fit for the socio-economic class that inhabits the adjacent neighborhoods. You minority of Ypsi’s who would prefer and can afford a health center, juice bar or a Whole Foods, can just move to Ann Arbor and stop trying to force your bourgeois tastes upon Ypsi’s proletariat.

    Maybe he has a point. Maybe this is the best that Ypsi can hope for. One of his fellow AnnArbor.com readers certainly seems to think so. “If we can get rid of the human garbage that pollutes Ypsi,” he says, “maybe it could be a civilized town, where people want to come and invest.” Until then, I guess we should just accept they fact that we’ll never be able to do better than plasma centers and dollar stores.

    And that was sarcasm, by the way. (For what it’s worth, I happen to think that most “human garbage” is online in Ann Arbor these days, and not on the street in Ypsi.)

    Before we get into the specifics of Water Street, I think it’s worth noting two things. First, there are already two Family Dollar stores in Ypsilanti. (One is at 1001 Emerick Street, and the other is at 1821 East Michigan Avenue.) And, second, from what I can tell, they pay their sales associates about $7.44 an hour on average, which, in Michigan, is a whopping $.04 an hour above minimum wage.

    It’s also worth mentioning, I think, that several communities around the United States are pushing back against the Family Dollar juggernaut, making the case that their presence in a neighborhood brings down property values, and makes real, sustainable economic development less likely. Among these communities are the Cascade area of southwest Atlanta and Tampa, Florida. The following comes from a site called NoFamilyDollar.com.

    …Family Dollar has a bad reputation, not only for their workers, but also for their prices. Family Dollar has been found guilty of violating federal overtime laws, settling for over $35 million dollars for their illegal practices (Source – USA TODAY), by forcing employees to work without overtime pay, and has been accused of discrimanatory practices. Additionally their business model is set up around offering discounts on anchor items (such as Dish Soap) and then marking up all other items, so that a misled consumer actually spends more than at the competition.

    …All Family Dollar’s net profits are taken out of the community. All profits are taken to the company’s headquarters in North Carolina. The net impact of this business being here to the benefit of the community on a local level is in the negative…

    At this point, I should add that I can see why members of City Council and our Planning Department might be inclined to entertain this offer. They desperately want for something to happen on Water Street that jumpstarts the long-stalled, and much-criticized 38-acre, downtown redevelopment project. This, to my knowledge, is the first serious bid that we’ve received in the past two years, since we refused to sell one acre to a Burger King franchisee. While I don’t think they’re thrilled about the idea of having a dollar store on the property, I think they like the fact that that the building being proposed will at least conform to their design specifications. (Burger King, as I understand it, hadn’t been willing to consider that.) I could be wrong about this, but my sense is that folks are thinking that, at the very least, this will allow us to start building out the infrastructure on the site (roads, electricity, sewer, street lights, etc.) and give us a building which could be repurposed at a later date, after Family Dollar moves on. The idea has merit, but my sense is that Family Dollar puts as little money as possible into its buildings, and, as such, we’ll be lucky if the structure is still standing in 20 years.

    The thing that’s most frustrating for me is that we only have one chance to do this correctly. We have something no other Michigan city has. We have a 38-acre parcel of downtown real estate with river frontage, and easy access to the highway, and it’s just about 15 minutes from the airport. This should be desirable property. And, if the economy begins to pick up, it will be. But, once we start building dollar stores, I think that possibility is dead. I don’t know that the Water Street gamble was a good one, but it’s too late to turn back now. We’ve purchased the land and torn down the dilapidated buildings that once stood there. And, after twice being jilted by developers, we’ve sat on it for the better part of a decade, waiting for people to start building in Michigan again. My advice… and I know it won’t be popular, as huge bond bills are coming due, and the promise of $210,000, and a little bit of tax revenue, is better than nothing… is to pass on Family Dollar. Taking this deal, in my opinion, it just too big of a risk. I know turning them down won’t be easy, but we’ve come this far, and I, for one, am willing to wait a bit longer, and not just jump at this out of desperation.

    And it’s not as though we don’t have cause to be hopeful. Let’s remember that, assuming all goes well, we could be breaking ground on an incredibly beautiful and inspiring new Water Street recreation center in the near future. And, it seems to me that this could very well bring with it the kind of opportunities that are more inline with the aspirations and potential of our community. With that in mind, I’m inclined to say that we try to renegotiate our bonds, buy ourselves a little more time, and wait for the economic recovery to take hold.

    Or, we could take the $210,000, and the promise of a handful of jobs that pay ¢4 over minimum wage, and accept this vision of Ypsilanti as a place that is undeserving of anything better than fast food and chain stores that take our money in exchange for cheap crap, and siphon the profits out-of-state, to the bank account of a wealthy family in North Carolina.

    [note: For those who are interested, I've written a lot over the years about how we could better market Water Street, and what we could possibly see there... from a temporary shipping container arts community to southeast Michigan's first urban cohousing development. I don't know that it was one of my best ideas, but this one is still my favorite: "The best thing we could do at this point," I said a few years ago, "is give a small, select number of parcels away to individuals who we feel confident would use them in some compelling way that would, perhaps, set the tone for future development. Toward that end, (I think that we should) give half-acre lots to each of a half dozen builders and architects, with the stipulation that they construct inspired, aggressively green housing units." I still think that would have been incredible.]

    update: Whether you agree with me or not, I’d encourage you to contact your representative on City Council and let them know how you feel. You’ll find their contact information here.

    update: As some have pointed out in the comments section, Family Dollar, which sells primarily overstock, closeout and seasonal merchandise purchased from other retailers and distributors, is not a true “dollar store” in the strict sense, as they offer several products at higher price points. According to Wikipedia, “while there are many items available for $1, there are other price points as well. However, approximately 90% of the products cost less than $10. With most locations set up like a typical supermarket, the chain deals in food items, clothing and assorted household products.”

    This entry was posted in Economics, Rants, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      122 Comments

      1. Linda
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        I think this is a horrible idea. This is not the kind of store we should want as an anchor for Water Street. We should just wait this out a bit and see what comes up now that the economy is starting to come back.
        Having a dollar store in Water Street would forever be an anchor around downtown’s neck not an anchor for redevelopment. We are already in debt and we are fighting our way back…a Dollar Store is not the answer. Give it some time.

      2. Steve Hawley
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        We have quite a few “Dollar Stores” in the area, I would think it a bad idea regardless of where they put it. If we start filling the area with random junk, one chunk of land at a time, it will look like we went back to Arlen’s or the flea market so we may as well have a car wash there too.
        We need a unified plan before we start letting that land go for someones pet project. I would vote for a ruling that forbid any groundbreaking before there was an agreed upon plan for the whole area.
        I’m wondering why this project got this far in the planning, some promises may have been made.

      3. The Real Real McCoy
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        “We need a unified plan before we start letting that land go for someones pet project. I would vote for a ruling that forbid any groundbreaking before there was an agreed upon plan for the whole area.”

        There is a plan for the entire area: Shoot everything down that doesn’t embrace “the vision”, and prep Ypsilanti for an income tax vote and a millage in 2016.

      4. Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Aren’t there plenty of pieces of land all over Washtenaw Avenue that could be had for cheaper?

      5. Chill Whities
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        When I first heard the Family Dollar might be moving in, I too, was dubious. Of course, I’d never been to one. So today on the way to a nature hike, the family stopped at the one on Rawsonville just south of I-94.

        Let’s be clear. Attention please! The Family Dollar is not a dollar store. If you think so, you’ve never been to one. It’s more like a micro Walmart. Which is to say is everything you “need,” with less selection but at similar price points.

        In regards to “selling shit manufactured in Chinese prisons.” I love the beloved Rocket, but, let’s be real … are you against “selling shit manufactured in Chinese prisons” that’s not hip or ironic?

        Frankly, anyone who shops at Target and recoils at the Family Dollar needs to take a long look in the mirror. Target has a bigger footprint and better lighting. That’s pretty much the difference.

        Echoing Chase Ingersoll…

        Are you looking for a Water Street development that will serve our community, or are you hoping Water Street will serve to displace our community?

        My family does the majority of day-to-day shopping at three places: Hillers, Target, and the Co-op. The Family Dollar won’t replace trips to the Co-op or Hillers, but it would mean that instead of driving to Target for TP, laundry detergent, odds and ends, etc. we’d walk to the Family Dollar. Which would be awesome. I hate leaving town, using gas, moving dollars, to get anything.

        Of course, for us, it’s easy to leave town. We have two cars. For families who actually live within walking distance of the proposed location, it would mean having a wide variety of products, food, clothing, household goods, pet food, etc. available within walking distance not a bus ride.

      6. Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        I’m trying to keep an open mind about this. Some of the people in the city who want this to happen are friends, and I’m convinced that they think it’s a good idea. They argue that 1 acre out of 38 isn’t that much. I can’t help but think, however, that a dollar store would set the wrong tone. Maybe I’m naive, but I have to believe there are better options for us.

      7. 2006
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Back when Mark was young: http://markmaynard.com/2006/05/the-battle-for-the-hearts-and-minds-of-ypsilanti/

      8. Chill Whities
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Exasperated sigh…

        Mark, please don’t play like a Republican and try to make something true by repeating it…

        To quote meself: “Let’s be clear. Attention please! The Family Dollar is not a dollar store.”

        If you remain unsure, tomorrow, get in your car, take Michigan to Ecorse, do the quick little jog to get onto I-94 (but don’t get on I-94, stay on the exit ramp to Rawsonville), head south, fairly quick left-hand turn into the Family Dollar.

        Now, walk around, look first for the products you drive elsewhere to buy. Then, think about South Grove, North Grove, etc. and imagine where they go to get the same stuff.

        Then ask what our community needs: Family Dollar or Urban Outfitters.

        Which China made crap, in light of our community, is the most useless?

        Toothpaste or hanging beads?

        Peace out.

      9. Frolixo
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        I think maybe a little naive about Ypsi’s prospects. Although dollar stores, liquor stores, cash checking, fast food, ect are not going to revitalize the area, that could be all Water Street is going to get. Waiting for a silver bullet is wishful thinking. At least collect some tax money on that albatross of a property.

      10. Mark
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Chill, I hear you. I know that a lot of local businesses sell stuff made in China. It’s not something that I’m thrilled about, but it’s the reality of the world we live in, at least for the time being. The main thing for me is local ownership. I think that’s important. I also think that it’s important that our downtown retains a unique, local flavor. In a world where every downtown is starting to look alike, I think that’s critical. And, as I said in the post, there are already two Family Dollar stores in Yspi. This isn’t me saying that places like this should not exist. I just don’t think it’s right for downtown, on Water Street. And, yes, I realize that they don’t just sell stuff for one dollar. I’ve been in both Dollar General stores and Family Dollar stores. They’re like little Walmarts, selling items in bulk that didn’t sell elsewhere. I understand the model, and I get the appeal. I just don’t think we need one downtown.

      11. anonymous
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        @Chill Whities

        When I first heard the Family Dollar might be moving in, I too, was dubious. Of course, I’d never been to one. So today on the way to a nature hike, the family stopped at the one on Rawsonville just south of I-94.

        –”the family”

        Let’s be clear. Attention please! The Family Dollar is not a dollar store. If you think so, you’ve never been to one. It’s more like a micro Walmart.

        –great, cuz pol pot was like a micro stalin

        In regards to “selling shit manufactured in Chinese prisons.” I love the beloved Rocket, but, let’s be real … are you against “selling shit manufactured in Chinese prisons” that’s not hip or ironic?

        –who owns the Rocket? who owns The Dollar Store?

        Frankly, anyone who shops at Target and recoils at the Family Dollar needs to take a long look in the mirror. Target has a bigger footprint and better lighting. That’s pretty much the difference.

        –they both suck, and we don’t want either

        Echoing Chase Ingersoll…

        –barely literate rightwing shithead

        Are you looking for a Water Street development that will serve our community, or are you hoping Water Street will serve to displace our community?

        –what a stupid question

        My family does the majority of day-to-day shopping at three places: Hillers, Target, and the Co-op.

        –are you and your family by chance schizophrenic?

        The Family Dollar won’t replace trips to the Co-op or Hillers, but it would mean that instead of driving to Target for TP, laundry detergent, odds and ends, etc.

        –you can get all those things at the coop, or pre-existing cvs

        we’d walk to the Family Dollar. Which would be awesome. I hate leaving town, using gas, moving dollars, to get anything.

        –you love being a smug advocate for the status quo, but hating wasting gas? i’d opt for the other way around.

        Of course, for us, it’s easy to leave town. We have two cars. For families who actually live within walking distance of the proposed location, it would mean having a wide variety of products, food, clothing, household goods, pet food, etc. available within walking distance not a bus ride.

        –”within walking distance” of water street there are already places to get those things.

      12. Megan
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Hey Chill? Theres a Dollar General two blocks East from Michigan and Park. Its next to the McDonalds. You can get your toiletries there and then stop off for dinner on your walk home.

      13. Posted November 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Today, I was so thrilled with a visit to Downtown Home and Garden. I miss Mantis that was on West Forest, then moved to W Michigan Ave. It is now Wright Pet Supply and Dawg House pet care. Anyway, The mix of practical, whimsical, great quality, garden, outdoor furniture, clothing, textiles, gifts, decorative items, firewood, Cooking utensils, pots and pans, serve ware, Christmas trees, and decorations, old style sturdy toys was FUN ; ~ D. Some things were made in china but, they carry Stormy Kromer, made in Michigan, Pottery from Poland. I saw more employees there than I have seen in most small retail operations. I bought a very reasonably priced pair of bamboo fabric work gloves. Can we court them?

      14. Redleg
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        What a laugh– Just a few years ago, a deal with Family Dollar was set in motion to build a store (on Township land) next door to the then Mantis Pet Supply, I-beams and other building supplies were actually delivered on site, but when the economy nose-dived, that deal fell through and all the building materials disappeared overnight… Shows just how much they “believe” in us, perhaps……… As far as stores of this ilk, I like Dollar General better– They stock flour and sugar and such, in a pinch I find them useful…

      15. Posted November 18, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        don’t bad mouth the plasma center. Admittedly it is owned by Bain Capital, but it does provide a dozen blood sucking phlebotomist with above minimum wage work, and dozens of our poor folks with a ready source of income.

      16. John Galt
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        What Ypsi needs is true capitalism. We need a dollar store – plasma center hybrid, where people can freely exchange blood for processed food.

      17. Bob
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Peter Larson,
        I find your suggestion that Family Dollar should take it to some other piece of Washtenaw a clearly racist suggestion. It’s obvious that you are talking about black people.

      18. Posted November 18, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        If I can answer for Peter… As has been pointed out several times, out community is full of these kinds of stores. My issue here has to do with strategy, and the long term vision for Water Street. When I say that I don’t think that Family Dollar would be good for Water Street, I don’t do so, as you suggest, because it would draw non-whites into the city. I’d love to draw non-whites into the city. (As my detractors at Stormfront can tell you, I hate white people.) My issue is that I think Family Dollar will make it less likely that unique, locally owned businesses like The Rocket and Mix will survive, and that high-tech businesses will invest in Water Street. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but I can’t help but think that there are businesses out there that would love to downtown location and can’t afford Ann Arbor.

      19. Posted November 18, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        What if Ypsi /is/ only good for strip clubs and dollar stores?

      20. anonymous
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        if zingermans loves their community like they say they do, they might pioneer a little parcel at water street.

      21. Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        “Peter Larson,
        I find your suggestion that Family Dollar should take it to some other piece of Washtenaw a clearly racist suggestion. It’s obvious that you are talking about black people.”

        I understand this is a jab, but no, I’m talking about the multitude of empty stores along Washtenaw. It’s the most depressing drive in Washtenaw County.

      22. ypsijav
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Zingerman’s was talking about a Ypsi restaurant a few years ago and there was a pretty big backlash against them moving into town. Personally, I think it would be a horrible idea. If you haven’t noticed, they are rather upscale even for Ann Arbor.

      23. Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        What Zingerman’s was talking about wasn’t an extension of their Ann Arbor deli, but a sliding-scale market/restaurant that would serve bourgeois and proletariat alike, to use the terms of Mr. Ingersoll.

      24. Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Over the years, we’ve talked quite a bit about the possibility of Zingerman’s in Ypsi. I think this is the most definitive post, for those of you who are interested in knowing more. (There’s also good stuff to be found here and here.)

      25. Posted November 18, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        So Zingerman’s is no good because it’s upscale, Burger King is no good because it’s a fast food restaurant and now Family Dollar is no good because it serves poor people.

        Personally, I don’t like any of the three, but there appears to be a pattern here.

        The only project that seems to be getting any kind of support is a publicly funded rec center.

        Given the miserable state of Ypsi’s economy, just about any business should be welcome. I realize that’s not a popular statement.

      26. Rustbelt Revival
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I just wrote this message to the Mayor– feel free to share & send it to him & also your Councilperson.
        ——————-
        Mr. Mayor,

        I just wanted to express my concern about the recent proposal by Family Dollar to purchase an acre of the Water Street property.

        I think this is a mistake. Already in Ypsilanti there are two of the same store & there are plenty others like it, from Dollar General to Walmart. We have a unique opportunity to do something different with that amazing property, and I think that the existence of the Water Street Trail/Border to Border trail, the City Tree Nursery, and the impending Park & Rec Center proposal show that we are moving the right direction.

        Why undermine that progress by devaluing the property with a development that is hardly needed or even desired by residents or local business owners? There are so many positive developments happening downtown, with the arrival of 4 more restaurants just in the last year & almost every storefront on Michigan avenue in downtown being filled!

        Water Street is special– prime access to the Huron River, the Trail & Waterworks park, Riverside Park & Frog Island, walking distance to Downtown & Depot Town. It’s a true oasis in the middle of the city. Let’s try to honor that by bringing a more positive form of development to the property.

        Let me know how I can help! I’m willing to help come up with creative ways to fundraise to buy us some more financial time to be able to refuse this offer & come up with a better long-term plans. Thank you!

      27. Posted November 18, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        This was interesting:

        http://beta.fool.com/twillyd/2012/10/08/discount-retailer-soaring-reputation-taking-hit/13703/

      28. Ann
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Living in the Township, we love coming downtown to visit the shops. It’s a night out for us. Developing that area into a destination stop of shops would give us more variety in our nights out. It’s not only a question of local ownership, but also creating an inviting place for those of us that want to stroll and spend.

      29. kjc
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Unless Walgreen’s is invisible to only me we also have a Walgreen’s smack at the corner of Prospect and Michigan. So south grove and north grove have a closer option already.

      30. Posted November 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Apparently these companies feel as though there’s still money to be bled out of our community, KJC.

      31. brad k!
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Additionally, Chill Whities, the people of North/South Grove likely shop at the Family Dollar that’s on Emerick in the Gault Village Shopping Center, less than two miles away from the proposed location for the new Family Dollar.

      32. leslie leland
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the balanced and informative writing of the blog post and the valuable discussion.
        When we opened our store 3 years ago, we joined Beezy’s, The Rocket, Material’s Unlimited, Salt City Antiques, Haab’s, Dalat, etc., solid businesses that have held their own through tough economic times. New businesses have come after us and are growing along with us. Cross Street is developing. Depot Town is healthy. There are still empty store fronts on Michigan Avenue but we have people coming into our business regularly who are interested in opening a store and are inquiring about the spaces available around us.
        For the record, currently, Ypsilanti is a GREAT place to start an independent business. The overhead is better than average and good business plans are enjoying success….and in addition to a loyal Ypsilanti customer base, we are all drawing customers from all over the southeast MI area. Good businesses attract customers.
        I have noticed when in direct discussions with some of the local politicians that they are not completely aware of the development taking place, of the business opportunities here. There seems to have been a tipping point in the development of downtown. I agree that there is a short-sighted urgency to develop the Water Street land created by the financial burdens of a perfect storm of past mishaps concerning this parcel of land.
        I feel strongly that allowing Family Dollar to buy the land and develop there would entrench and perpetuate a low-income, broken down, poverty mentality whereas an independently owned business offering what the community desires could further spur the development of more local business.
        As for the “elitist” name calling, a good business plan transcends class and will work or not work on it’s own merit.
        I’d like to know what effort there has been to assess the kind of businesses that the community would like and how we can actively reach out to attract the business development that the community supports and desires.
        p.s. when you click on our store link in your post it goes to the Family Dollar website. Our website is being designed currently and is offline, but our FB page is active.

      33. Rustbelt Revival
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Just got a response from the Mayor to the message I sent earlier, here it is:
        ————————————————————
        “Thanks for the message. The County Rec Center is still being planned for the northwest corner of the Water Street property. I am very excited about it.
        In regards to Family Dollar, the company is providing access to the west as well as planning a building that fits with the Planning Commission guidelines – except that it’s one story, not two. Close proximity businesses are Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Bomber. Neither of those developments are multistory either.
        The Planning Commission spent a lot of time crafting language for two new zoning districts specifically for Water Street (the aforementioned guidelines). I was in favor of adopting them as zoning for Water Street, but the majority of city council has preferred to keep the planning unspecified and entertain proposals as they come. That’s why we had the Burger King proposal a couple of years ago.
        If we had independent owners vying for the same piece of land as the Family Dollar proposal, I would favor the independents. But this is the best offer we have had. And the city continues to reduce staff and cut back on city services and response times. Voters defeated the Water Street bond millage by 2 to 1 earlier this year, so we must start development with a building that can be reused in the future to get replacement tax revenue. If Family Dollar leaves the site, the building will remain for a future tenant/owner — maybe even expansion of a local business.
        I think that there is plenty of frontage to transition from the single story building at the east end of Water Street to the multistory rec center at the west end. I would also like to see many of the things that you and other commenters want on Water Street.
        Feel free to call me anytime at 734-277-5446 if you’d like to talk further.
        Best regards,
        Paul
        Paul Schreiber
        Mayor, City of Ypsilanti
        734-277-5446″

      34. Andrew Jason Clock
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Well, Brian Robb has put in his condescending two cents. He actually has some valid points, but as usual, its wrapped up in a delivery that, as a constituent, I find fairly insulting. The most important point, council is planning to make an end run around their promise to hold open hearings on the sale of any Water Street Property. That news of course, is presented with a middle finger. http://east-cross.com/?p=667

      35. Emma
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Family Dollar is not going to open another store in the area if they were not making money in their current locations. There is obviously a market for what they’re selling here.
        Most small business owners do not have the capital to start a business, purchase land, and build their building. This, I can only assume, is why the business owners commenting and mentioned here are in existing structures and have not purchased a parcel at Water Street. Both Mix and The Rocket have opened since Water St. land has been available.
        No matter how many times it is said that a piece of property is desirable; it’s only worth what someone will pay. Up until now (except for BK) it’s been worth nothing.
        As the mayor said “If Family Dollar leaves the site, the building will remain for a future tenant/owner — maybe even expansion of a local business”.
        If you don’t like it, don’t shop there and if your money is that important to their bottom line they will close and you can use the building Family Dollar built for something else.
        There were many local business there before this disaster, a janitorial supply store, Ypsi. Iron and Metal Co., a Lennox dealer, Lee’s Chop Suey, the towing company, an auto parts store (someone’s house) and others I don’t remember that were taken from their owners to pave the way for more “desirable” businesses that never came.
        Nothing is ever good enough for poor old misunderstood Ypsilanti. At this point Family Dollar is our only hope.

      36. Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        “Most small business owners do not have the capital to start a business, purchase land, and build their building.”

        That is precisely the problem. If Ypsi, Michigan and America want to get serious about creating businesses in economically challenged places like Ypsi, they are going to have to get creative in figuring out how to provide capital.

        Until then, the only people who are going to be opening businesses are parasitic giants like Family Dollar.

      37. Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      38. Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        I had no idea that I could post photos in the comments section.

        This was, of course, inspired by Emma’s comment.

      39. kjc
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Dollar stores are like restaurants. I read that.

      40. Emma
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        I wish I could see the inspired photo but only a portion is visible.
        Is it the top of a nun’s head with a naked man’s groin in the upper right corner?

      41. kjc
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        I can only see the top portion also. Looks sorta poor and misunderstood.

      42. Posted November 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        OK, how about now?

      43. Posted November 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        I’m not going to weigh in quite yet on the Family Dollar proposal. I will say that I think there are good reasons to be opposed to it, but most of the ones I’ve heard in the last few days, online and off, are not them.

        I do share Mr. Robb’s concluding concern–Finally, there is a very bizarre, very subliminal undertone that flows through every Water Street discussion. There are racial implications to gentrification that should not be ignored. All of this talk about “tone” should make us a little uncomfortable.

        This “tone” thing that we’re worried about–I’m interested in seeing a tone on the site of durable, adaptable buildings that make good use of land, contribute to both critical mass and variety of activity, and support human access alongside/above automobile access. I’m a little less concerned about what exactly is in that building, because that will change and evolve over time, if the physical considerations are met.

        I’m a little less interested in being part of a discussion of tone that sounds like, “We don’t need any more ‘affordable’ anything in this town–we need something that will bring people in from Canton!” (That’s a direct quote from when I was on staff, talking to someone about the idea of an Ypsi-priced Zingerman’s.)

        If that’s the kind of “tone” discussion we’re having–that the “type of store” that caters to the “type of person” that shops at Family Dollar sets the wrong “tone” for downtown–then I’d prefer if folks were upfront about the races, classes, and ages of people they think aren’t part of “the community we’re trying to be”.

        There are a couple of outliers here. anonymous, in between the sneering, does offer up a useful tidbit, “who owns the Rocket? who owns The Dollar Store?” that Pete brings home: If Ypsi, Michigan and America want to get serious about creating businesses in economically challenged places like Ypsi, they are going to have to get creative in figuring out how to provide capital. I’d be interested in being a part of that conversation, but considering that the discussion about a food co-op expansion on Water Street has gone nowhere for five years, despite being a real live business with real live mechanisms for community fundraising, I don’t have high hopes about us being able to bring that conversation home when we’re talking about inventing new mechanisms for theoretical businesses.

      44. XXX
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        So, I’m a racist for not wanting Family Dollar downtown, Murph and Brian? Please tell me more.

      45. kjc
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Lol. Yes I see it now. I see it all clearly. And Brian Robb is lecturing on “tone”.

      46. leslie leland
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Murph wrote- “I’m a little less interested in being part of a discussion of tone that sounds like, “We don’t need any more ‘affordable’ anything in this town–we need something that will bring people in from Canton!” (That’s a direct quote from when I was on staff, talking to someone about the idea of an Ypsi-priced Zingerman’s.)
        If that’s the kind of “tone” discussion we’re having–that the “type of store” that caters to the “type of person” that shops at Family Dollar sets the wrong “tone” for downtown–then I’d prefer if folks were upfront about the races, classes, and ages of people they think aren’t part of “the community we’re trying to be”.

        If there is any suggestion of eliminating a “type of person” from Ypsilanti in any of my points let me be clear that that is not my intention at all……but oh yes, guilty as charged, I will cop to implying that “type of store” to The Family Dollar (and I do shop them) on the basis of STYLE…and as in Yuck! in regards to the feeling I have about the commercial development of downtown!

        I admit it! I love a good downtown, the locally owned shops, small grocers and delis and restaurants that are cropping up in all of the downtown areas all around us. I think we are seeing a trend away from the malls and back to the downtown’s like it used to be. Why is that threatening to people? Ypsilanti had a thriving downtown 40 years ago!

        My main point is that the business climate is improving, there is more interest in opening businesses in Ypsilanti and the businesses that are opening are succeeding, so why not try to hold out for something better for Ypsilanti? What is the time line on all of this and is their need for the rush?

        Was there effort to engage attractive businesses for that spot? What HAS the effort been in trying to recruit business? Are we just waiting for people to come to us orhas there been an active effort to recruit? Not for elitist, expensive specialty stores, but independant businesses or at least corporate businesses that better reflect the changing face of Ypsilanti, (which is ALL races, ALL ages, ALL classes), by the way. Good business transcends class. Everyone is welcome at a good business.

        Yes, MIX does not have the money to buy land, and construct a building, but that doesn’t mean that someone else doesn’t. We were able to bootstrap our business downtown and so can others still today….I can tell you that we are having entrepreneurial-minded people coming in to our store a lot, inquiring about the town. Business savvy people are noticing that something is happening. There is a buzz about downtown Ypsilanti that we feel is growing. Downtown spaces offer good value and therefore good opportunity that we are all helping to build by creating a more vibrant downtown.

        Sure it would take some money for someone to develop a “from-the-ground-up business” like an independent grocery or nursery, but we are convinced that if someone did, especially if it had style, that the customers are there/ here.

        Was there any effort to find out what the citizens want there?
        .
        ..and of course we need “affordable”. Affordable is essential. You can have affordable and have quality and do it with STYLE.

        I do NOT like the STYLE of The Family Dollar (for that particular spot) and I speak for many others. Style does set a TONE! Businesses create atmospheres and consumers are sensitive to the atmosphere of a place.

        It is a well known fact that when you open a business, choosing a location with a successful business in close proximity improves your chance for success. Will the Family Dollar inspire other business ideas or repel them? And what kind of a companion does it make for the proposed REC Center?

        I really wonder if the people working on developing this property have any understanding of retail or even like retail? Durable, adaptable buildings are important yes, but so is what inhabits them.

        Oh and by the way, at our business we do like it when people visit our downtown businesses from Canton, and Ann Arbor, Monroe, and Plymouth and Chelsea, etc. etc, etc.. We have extremely loyal Ypsilanti customers who specifically spend their money in Ypsilanti, voting with their dollars for the businesses they want to see succeed. We haven’t designed our store specifically because we wanted to attract out-of-towners , but we are grateful that they are coming and they shop all of the other businesses while they’re here.

        There is quite a buzz in our store about all of this Family Dollar stuff, by a wide variety of people with ALL different levels of incomes, skin tones, and ages. The consensus is BIG disappointment in this development.

        Will it kill the progress developing of business success in Ypsilanti? Hell no, but it DOES shut the door on something more local, more inviting and attractive, with better style and tone.

      47. The Real Real McCoy
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Silly me, I thought the poverty mentality came from the fact that 20 PERCENT of this city lives in poverty.

      48. anonymous
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        would it be possible to agree to let family dollar build the store, in exchange for them agreeing to pay their workers a living wage, and to allow growing hope to design and cultivate their landscaping?

      49. Jennifer
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Did anyone hear the story in the past week on NPR/Michigan Radio about Grand Rapids–how they somehow did everything right in recreating a riverfront downtown that draws people (residents/customers) in? I can’t find it in a quick search, but I keep thinking about it as I read this discussion: Ypsi isn’t Grand Rapids to be sure, in so many ways (and I don’t know GR very well; I think one important difference is that Ypsi doesn’t have rich Republicans bankrolling its revitalization), but the Family Dollar possibility would seem to make it less likely that Ypsi could create a visionary downtown. If only someone could wave a magic wand and make the Rec Center already there now, I think it might turn the tide. Family Dollar, I don’t think, is going to attract interesting things.

        (And I get that this isn’t just about vision, interest, but also about capital, mismanagement and bills coming due…)

      50. MK
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Brian Robb ran for Council saying that he’d help turn Water Street around. Now, after half a decade, we see the fruit of his labor. We went millions into debt for a Family Dollar. And when people point out how laughably pathetic that is, he accuses them of being racist, as though the plan all along was to fill Water Street with dollar stores and check cashing places that serve the poor, black population of Ypsilanti.

      51. Opum Mist
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        Leslie,

        “Ypsilanti had a thriving downtown 40 years ago!”

        And 40 years ago, they didn’t go downtown to buy art, they went downtown to buy essentials. They went to Kresge: http://www.metromodemedia.com/devnews/oldkresgeypsi0039.aspx

        Or Hudson’s or Montgomery Ward or whatever chain store hadn’t left for the suburban mall.

        If we’re going to idealize the past, at least let’s be candid about it.

        As Brian Robb suggests, Water Street has ALWAYS been about bringing in national retailers. It’s absurd to think you’d level acres in hope of attracting locally owned start-ups like Mix, the Rocket, etc.

        When folks suggest, “We can do better,” all that means, if they think about it, is they hope for a more upscale national chain selling imported/mass consumer shit. “No” on Burger King but “yes” to P.F. Chang’s. “No” on Family Dollar but “yes” to Urban Outfitters Outlet.

        Summary: The only taxable new construction that will happen on Water Street will be from a chain. The Family Dollar will do less to dilute our wonderfully unique dual downtowns, and more to serve residents, than just about anything else we can imagine.

      52. Opum Mist
        Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        Postscript. If readers can accept it as a rational given that only big brands can afford to build on a brownfield, what national brands would you like to see instead of the Family Dollar?

        What national chains would set the right tone for our community?

      53. anonymous
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        as for national chains, or any chains: none.

      54. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        “What national chains would set the right tone for our community?”

        Barneys? Bergdorf-Goodman? Nordstrom?

        No, but seriously: great question.

        Serious suggestion: Micro Center (computers & etc.). Great selection; great prices; nothing like it in Washtenaw county; would almost certainly be successful given the county’s large tech base. Would attract customers from a large radius. Nearest one is 13 mile and I-75, and it is almost worth the drive; nothing like it in the whole metro/SE-mich area to my knowledge. If I had some bucks I would attempt to do a franchise myself, if it were a franchise operation. It’s a sure-fire winner for this area. (To any savvy entrepreneur with some bucks: CONSIDER THIS.)

      55. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Micro Center is very similar to California’s Frys (though Fry’s is better — truly spectacular selection):
        http://www.microcenter.com
        http://www.frys.com

      56. Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        COMPUSA had a store on Ann Arbor-Saline Road and it died.

        Locally owned Computer Alley once had two stores and had to close down one of them.

        If Ann Arbor can’t support these stores, I’m not sure how Ypsi can.

      57. Ben
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        I actually think the MICRO CENTER idea is pretty cool! Unlike dollar stores, the closest one is in Madison Heights. I would not be happy about a Family Dollar moving in. The only benefit would be if they close we’d have a storefront for a hopefully local business to move into / expand into. I really hope they don’t move in though.

      58. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Comp-USA and Computer Alley were not at all comparable to Micr0-Center or Frys (especially not to Fry’s, which is incredible!). I never shopped at CompUSA; no selection; s0-so (not really good) pricing. There’s a reason that I (and others) actually drive to freaking 13-mile and John R for Micro-Center: because it is WAY better. You’re right that Ypsi would not be the ideal location. Something between A2 and Ypsi would be ideal. On the other had, an Ypsi-side location would draw more from W side Detroit.

      59. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Difference between micro-center/fry’s and compUSA in a nutshell: the latter appeals only (or almost exclusively) to computer-illiterate, relatively unsophisticated types; mainstream, mom and pop, “what’s an operating system?” types. Fry’s (and to a lesser extent MC) is the hangout of techies, computer nerds, hackers, etc., though they also have plenty for the less-sophisticated crowd.

      60. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        MK Posted November 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm:
        “Brian Robb ran for Council saying that he’d help turn Water Street around. Now, after half a decade, we see the fruit of his labor. We went millions into debt for a Family Dollar. And when people point out how laughably pathetic that is, he accuses them of being racist”

        Not racist, quite, but ethnocentric. They’re cut from similar cloth, but there is a distinction. Racism is a specific form of ethnocentrism. It has to do with biological race (assuming that concept to have validity), or shall we say instantly recognizable morphologic/physiognomic differences, whereas ethnocentrism is a lot broader, often having to do with tribal values, viewpoints, predispositions, traditions, etc. (regardless of, or with less stress placed upon, e.g. skin pigmentation). Ethnocentrism partakes of Spencer’s “dual code”: one for one’s own tribe (code of amity), the other for outsiders (code of enmity). It is a primitive “us” vs. “them” distinction, probably issuing from the lower brain portions (R-complex, “reptile brain”).

        That anonymous AnnArbor.com commenter — “If we can get rid of the human garbage that pollutes Ypsi, maybe it could be a civilized town” — was expressing ethnocentrism of a nasty, sinister or even genocidal sort, reminiscent of the Nazis. But it can have relatively civilized expressions as well; e.g. being a big Detroit Tigers fan. It is not all bad, but it can easily get out of hand.

        More than anything, it requires honesty. Murph pegged the matter beautifully (above): “If that’s the kind of ‘tone’ discussion we’re having -– that the ‘type of store’ that caters to the ‘type of person’ that shops at Family Dollar sets the wrong ‘tone’ for downtown -– then I’d prefer if folks were upfront about the races, classes, and ages of people they think aren’t part of ‘the community we’re trying to be’.”

        Right.

        — WE [and you know who WE are, don't you?]
        — don’t want THAT type of store [surely you know what THAT
        type of store is, don't you?]
        — catering to THAT type of person [and WE all know who THEY
        are, don't WE?]

        Way too much innuendo and euphemism; not enough honesty. It has the sound of a bunch of acrid racism from people who want to appear polite and respectable.

        Here’s an upfront stab at it; correct me if I’m wrong: “The community we’re trying to be” is NOT the white-trashy (or black trashy, for that matter) people who watch Nascar, drive crummy pickups, own guns, vote Republican, and don’t care about “organic”. That is (or is at least what we conceive to be) the Family Dollar demographic, right? Or to put it in other terms, the community we’re trying to be is NOT Ray and Anderson’s cultural subtype called the Traditionals, but rather the (enlightened?) Cultural Creatives: liberal Democrat Whole Foods shoppers who typically do not own guns or go to church. (TYPICALLY, not invariably, of course.) For details on the Ray/Anderson typology, bing for their names plus “cultural creative”.

        Tribalism/ethnocentrism is not at all unusual for MM.com and other progressive venues. And again: not all bad, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, and there’s a willingness to be candid about it, rather than obscure it or deny it by claiming that “we’re everybody”.

      61. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Reminds me of an old thread…
        http://markmaynard.com/2012/03/how-thick-is-your-bubble/
        … see the 35-question quiz for a fair description of the Family-Dollar demographic. (Only fair, not really good, since more and more middle-middle and upper-middle people are shopping at dollar stores and the like — out of necessity.) Mark led the post with a very nice tribalistic reference: “someone calling himself Alan2102 emerged from the shadows to accuse a number of us…”. Yes, one of THOSE — clearly not one of US — calling himself [surely disingenuously] something-or-other, emerged from the [dark dark evil and foreboding] shadows to [stealthily, meanly] attack our tribe, and I don’t like it one bit! BAD Alan! BAD Alan! BAD BAD BAD!

        It is so cute when primitive ethnocentrism erupts from enlightened (?) progressives (?).

      62. Posted November 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        If people think a MicroCenter is such a good idea, get the capital and do it.

        That’s the trouble with these discussions. A lot of talk about what should or shouldn’t be done, and not a lot of talk about making something actually happen. Certainly, there are issues of raising capital but these can be overcome.

        As an example, when Beezy was thinking of buying the Wolverine, many people on this blog offered to help raise capital. I even offered to put in $1000 of my own money to make it happen and I don’t even live in Ypsi.

        Until there are better ideas that look like they will come to realistic fruition, the city is going to be quite receptive to companies like Family Dollar.

      63. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        For an MC-type store I’ll probably need a good 2-3 mil. Any ideas? I’ll work on it…

      64. someone at work
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        The “racism” argument is bullshit, and Brian Robb should be roundly ridiculed for raising it. What’s racist about wanting jobs for our community that pay more than 4 cents above minimum wage? What’s racist about wanting to find a solution for Water Street that points us in a direction forward? No one is saying that we shouldn’t have affordable groceries for the poor. No one is saying that we need a Whole Foods on Water Street. No one is saying that we should tear down the other two Family Dollars that we already have. And to suggest that we are is intellectually dishonest. The bottom line is that this property represents our future, and starting with Family Dollar is a bad precedent. It doesn’t lead to innovative, big ideas. It leads to a dead end. And it clearly illustrates just how inept our elected officials are. With the exception of being handed the Washtenaw Recreation Center project, they’ve done nothing. I take that back. They did say no to Burger King, which was the right move, if a bit racist.

      65. Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Alan, I bet you could easily raise $500,000 and put in a quality store in Ypsi.

      66. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/09/election-season-bluster-threats-to-move-to-canada-a-trump-call-for-revolution/
        Expat American
        Who says Canada wants a Diaspora of hate-filled, unread Tea Party mongrels to pollute their country like they already do in the U.S?
        For those who threw out accusations of Communism, Marxism, Socialism; and any other term they learned on the History Channel but don’t fully understand; why don’t they move to a country where your Basic Human Rights will not be respected? In other words, why stop at Canada?
        While abroad I’ve met people who have had their limbs severed in front of their families for speaking their minds. I doubt your ***AVERAGE CONSERVATIVE RED STATE WALMART/DOLLAR STORE RACIST*** is willing to make that sacrifice.
        November 9, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am [Emphasis mine -- alan2102]

        …………………………

        Yes, the red-state/reactionary/redneck Family Dollar demographic, as conceived (largely correctly, I’m sure) by a CC/liberal type.

      67. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        someone at work
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm
        “The “racism” argument is bullshit”

        “Racism” was a poor choice of words, but it was in the ballpark; see my posts above.

        “Family Dollar is a bad precedent. It doesn’t lead to innovative, big ideas.”

        Innovative, big ideas can be and often are overrated. Non-innovative, small ideas can sometimes serve a community better. They tend to be more organic, more human-scale, more manageable, more responsive to people’s needs. I’m not saying that that is true in this (water st) instance. I’m just putting it out there for you to consider. “Innovative” and “big” are not necessarily positive.

      68. alan2102
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        … and in contrast to small and non-innovative: big, innovative ideas have an annoying habit of collapsing in spectacular ways. For example, the original plan for the Water Street development that now has Ypsilanti tethered to an impossible debt for decades. That plan was very very big and innovative. Again, I’m not saying that bigness and innovation are bad. Just have to be careful. Big and wrong is WAY more expensive than small and wrong.

      69. leslie leland
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        garden/ grocery/ farmstand.
        the end.

      70. leslie leland
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        ooops, not quite the end-
        I meant
        home and garden/ nursery/ grocery/local farm goods

      71. anon
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        would mark of downtown home and garden consider opening a second store here, w/ food carts and grocery?

      72. Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Those are all seasonal businesses.

      73. anon
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        peter: what would you put at water street? give us a list of ideas. seriously.

      74. leslie leland
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        I lied about being done:
        82% grocery/ 18% home goods -nursery-Christmas greenery

        produce station-ish only more affordable-

        someone mentioned Busch’s…

        We need someone who is already doing something like this or a philanthropist who has the money, loves Ypsilanti, is willing to invest and build something of value for the city.

        (We’re trying to put in a very small grocery at MIX Marketplace but a larger grocery, at Water Street, would have the advantage of ample parking and be a better fit for the larger community).

      75. Brainless
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        (Peter just likes to poo poo all commerce. I honestly believe, since he’s not all that keen on brick and mortar businesses to begin with, that he simply leave himself out of this conversation completely. Water Street requires some sort of brick and mortar businesses. We’re not starting from scratch here. We have clear givens that already fly in the face of a lot of the great philosophers here. So, ya know, maybe just step to the back while alan and others chew on a few actual ideas.)

        On this blog folks have argued against a rec center. They’ve argued against Burger King. They’ve argued against Family Dollar. The evidence suggest that anything short of sort of experimental “Doesn’t Exist Mart” with a built-in hippie village featuring free organic food and profit sharing for everyone will simply not please our creamy white friends here. There’s a reason these businesses exist and Water Street doesn’t. THEY know what they’re doing. YOU, not so much.

        But I guess since Comp USA couldn’t make a go of it, ALL business is bad. Note that all the same people who were just so damn sure the city should invest in developing property are probably the same people arguing against the very sorts of stores that move into new development. Fuckin’ ironic, no?

        Remember when Borders was just the coolest damn store on the face of the planet? You all would have BEGGED for such a thing here. And where are they now? Yet, the world survives its passing. Yes, they were JUST a business. Just like Family Dollar and Produce Station and all the others are just businesses – some more successful than others. You think Zingerman’s has some magic stick up their butt? No, they just figured out how to charge the rich folks high prices. Not exactly scalable. Thirty years from now, we might end up marking their passing the same way we did Borders – something that was unthinkable 20 years ago.

        This is just adorable:
        “We need someone who is already doing something like this or a philanthropist who has the money, loves Ypsilanti, is willing to invest and build something of value for the city.”

        I could just give you a gluten-free hug.

      76. Posted November 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        “Peter just likes to poo poo all commerce. I honestly believe, since he’s not all that keen on brick and mortar businesses to begin with, that he simply leave himself out of this conversation completely.”

        Actually, no, not at all. I’m very much pro-commerce. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. I work for the UM Business School!

        I hesitate to makes suggestions as to what to do with Water Street because I don’t live in Ypsi. If pressed, though, I would most certainly vote (as someone else did) for a grocery store like an Aldi or a Trader Joe’s. Even a Whole Foods would go well as it has an eating area (and a bar), but eating areas and bars could be served by other nearby businesses.

        The Co-op is great, but Ypsi, like a lot of struggling communities, needs a centrally accessible grocery store. Washtenaw County is fully saturated with farmer’s markets and the seasonal nature of farmer’s markets make it a hard way to generate continuous revenue for the city.

        The big box stores are rough. They usually plant a huge building which isn’t easily reused at a later date. When I lived in Providence, RI, I was part of a push back against Shaw’s Grocery. They bought a large tract of land in an area similar to Ypsi, razed a number of 19th century mill buildings and built a huge grocery store. It was seen as a boon for the area at the time. We knew better, of course. The building is now completely empty and rotting and impossible to rent out. A medium sized grocery retailer like Trader Joes or Aldi would at least mitigate this possibility and provide reasonably priced groceries.

      77. Posted November 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        With or without Water Street, however, there has to be more local activity to

        1) come up with ideas for new, locally owned businesses and
        2) generate capital to get these folks off the ground and expand existing businesses.

        If Water Street could help provide a space for some of that, well that would be a good thing.

        I realize that’s a pretty lame suggestion, but it’s true.

        Speaking of poo poo-ing, commentors here seem to disparage the hair braiders downtown. Personally, I think they’re some pretty amazing folks. Many of those people are African immigrants with few other options open to them. They’ve probably risked every penny they ever had, too, which is pretty gutsy to me. Most salient, they satisfy a local demand for such a service. I counted four of those places downtown. Those folks might operate a bit better with some extra capital, but likely can’t get it. It’s just an example, but establishing local programs to help some of these people expand could go a long way toward helping Ypsi all around.

      78. Dirtgrain
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        I’m glad that we have a say in it (via elected officials). I’m more comfortable with our community doing the social programming–as opposed to the corporations.

        It’s strange, though, with some here speaking for the poor. Perhaps we don’t see a lot of lower-income people participate here in these discussions. Our elected officials should find some way to involve many of the people from the surrounding neighborhoods–as well as the rest of Ypsilanti–in the conversation.

        It seems here that people are bringing up lower-income families as a convenient talking point–not out of legitimate concern. If we were so concerned, then we would be seeking their input.

      79. Brainless
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re all on crack if you think the “community” (whatever that is) is going to “come up with ideas for new, locally owned businesses”. It’s not up to the community to do any such thing. Family Dollar did propose an idea and the “community” of this blog shit all over it. So much for welcoming sorely needed new businesses.

        Water Street is an unmitigated disaster. It’s dragging the city into oblivion while we lay off police and firefighters. Water Street was borne of the “community” sticking its nose into business it didn’t belong. But yeah, let’s ask them to do it again.

        Fuck me, you just don’t learn. You goddamn university employees have completely lost touch with what it’s like to live in a competitive environment and you spew these silly notions that the community at large can somehow guide commerce. The business owners you too often vilify (though sometimes rightfully so) scratch their heads and wonder what in god’s name you’re smoking and then move on and ignore your bullshit ramblings anyway. Just roll out the fucking welcome mat and pray for tax dollars. In case you hadn’t noticed, other than a bunch of poisoned dirt by the river, it’s all you have left.

      80. Elf
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Brian,

        How is it racist when we don’t want Family Dollar, but not racist when you vote against Burger King? Please explain the difference.

      81. Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        “It’s not up to the community to do any such thing.”

        Then who should it be up to?

      82. Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        “You goddamn university employees”

        I can only think of two University employees on this blog.

      83. anonymous
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Brainless is like EOS with an MFA.

      84. Posted November 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        “lost touch with what it’s like to live in a competitive environment ”

        I really don’t get this one at all.

        Cities don’t make themselves competitive by encouraging the lowest common denominator of cookie cutter retail chains.

        If this were the case, towns like Adrian, MI, which has both a Family Dollar and a Dollar General, in addition to a number of payday loan places, would be doing much better than they are.

        For the record, I’m not against the Family Dollar (though admittedly have no stake). I hope, however, that more people step up to the plate to create or attract businesses that have more to offer.

        That’s all I was trying to say. I’m sorry it wasn’t clear.

      85. Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        I’m stealing this from Facebook, where Murph just posted it. I’m doing so without permission, but I don’t imagine that he’ll mind.

        “John: honestly, I’d be happy to have the city give away land for free to attract desired development. Makes sense financially–if we amortize the land purchase price of the Family Dollar over ten years, it’ll probably generate $30,000/year in land purchase + taxes for the city’s general fund. By comparison, the shipping container condos project I linked the other day looks like it would generate about $35,000/year in general fund taxes alone–and we could probably fit four of them on the parcel Family Dollar is looking at, for $140,000/year. Seriously: we could offer to *pay* the shipping container developer $500,000 to take an acre of land to build a 4x version of that, and we’d come out ahead after a mere five years. (And that’s just considering general fund revenues. Add in road bond, OPEB, library, a share of water bond payments, etc, and we win even faster.)”

      86. Teresa
        Posted November 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        As fate would have it – the only major agenda item tomorrow night is the Family Dollar Letter of Intent. The meetings starts at 7 p.m. and there will be audience participation prior to the presentation on the Family Dollar proposal, with representatives from Core Resources group in attendance.

        I hope folks come out to here the discussion and weigh in one way or another.

        If you haven’t looked through the council packet, here’s a link. http://cityofypsilanti.com/Portals/0/docs/Mayor%20and%20City%20Council/Records/2012/Packets/11-20-2012%20Packet.pdf

      87. alan2102
        Posted November 20, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        brainless: “anything short of sort of experimental “Doesn’t Exist Mart” with a built-in hippie village featuring free organic food and profit sharing for everyone will simply not please our creamy white friends here.”

        Free organic food and profit-sharing sounds good to this creamy-white-with-speckles hippie-sympathizing commie.

        The central grocery store idea also sounds good. Why does it have to be a chain (aldi, TJs, etc.), channeling resources out of the community? Why not a cooperatively owned and run affair? The TIMING could not be better, as we’re on the cusp of a long depression-like crisis:

        http://www.reic.uwcc.wisc.edu/groceries/
        “Consumers’ interest and participation in retail food cooperatives tends to increase in periods of social, political, and economic turmoil. Although their secondary needs may vary considerably, cooperative members consistently want their cooperatives to provide price, quality, and selection advantages. Growth periods also occur when large numbers of consumers experience economic difficulties and develop an interest in ownership and control of their retail food sources when they become concerned for food safety and when they experience a strong desire for an ethical society (Hoyt, 1982).”

        see also:
        http://permaculture.tv/tag/mondragon/

        e.g.:
        http://permaculture.tv/mondragon-official-oral-history-cooperative-arrasate/
        To jumpstart US job market, turn workers into owners
        Many Americans build wealth through their home. Why not through work?
        In hard times like these, the co-op model makes sense. After all, public confidence in corporations, banks, and the larger financial system is at low ebb, while unemployment is at its highest level in 25 years. Homeownership, historically a reliable way to build equity, has been rocked by foreclosures. People are looking for other ways to do business and save money.
        Many people think of co-ops as the hippie-dippy grocery store that sells organic goods. In fact, a 2009 study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives found more than 29,000 cooperatives in the US, which make $500 billion in annual revenue, support 83,000 people, and pay $25 billion in wages and benefits. They include national firms such as credit unions, and local businesses such as the Alvarado Street Bakery in Petaluma, Calif., or the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry in Cleveland.

        and:
        http://permaculture.tv/mandela-marketplace-pathways-sustainable-self-governance/
        - community-led or community controlled development
        - successes of the Mandela Foods Cooperative and Mandela Marketplace
        - financing worker cooperatives

      88. alan2102
        Posted November 20, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Hey, http://permaculture.tv is cool. Lots of interesting vids.

        Check out the Chomsky interview, 2nd post down:
        http://permaculture.tv/a-monstrous-presidency/
        A Monstrous Presidency
        at 4:55: “If the Bush administration didn’t like somebody, they would put them in prison and torture them. If the Obama administration doesn’t like somebody, they murder them.”

        That’s more relevant to this local/water-street discussion than you might think.

      89. Amanda
        Posted November 20, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        Since the conversation has moved over here– I made a post last night about farmers markets and public markets and Water Street, of possible interest…. http://markmaynard.com/2012/11/grand-rapids-shows-us-how-economic-development-is-done-right-food-entrepreneurship-over-dollar-stores/comment-page-1/#comment-420638

      90. Posted November 20, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Are you going to the city council meeting to hear the decision? email me directly, I’m reporting for the Newspaper from there and would love to get a quote for my story.

      91. Posted November 20, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Just so everyone knows amid e previous disparaging of local Ypsilanti businesses, that all of the people around me at this moment (in Ann Arbor) are talking about their recent purchases at the Rocket.

      92. Posted November 21, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        At the Council meeting last night, 2 people spoke in opposition to the proposal from Family Dollar –Leslie Leland, who has commented above, and Dave Heikkenan of Heikk’s. (Former Mayor Cheryl Farmer arrived late and spoke in opposition at the end of the meeting.) One person asked a question of the developer (I don’t remember what it was) but didn’t state an opinion.

        I spoke to voice neither support nor opposition to Family Dollar per se, focusing on built form: the building and site sketch are certainly better than the last proposal, and not incompatible with building out the rest of the site in the way we’ve said in the past that we wanted. Looking at the Freed plan of 2006 for the whole site, they actually had a similar single-story, detached retail little-box building in this same location, capping off the line of multi-story mixed-use structures. (It could have even been a Family Dollar, to be honest–the city would not have had approval of individual business tenants under the site-wide development plans.)

        I asked Council to revisit the question of enacting development standards for the site — defining what it is that we’d like to see there, and then honoring that by giving a fast yes to proposals that met them. If we keep waiting for developers to approach the city and then attacking them, we’re going to rapidly run out of developers…and the only ones we’re going to get in the meantime are large companies producing a dozen new formula stores a week. Whether or not the corner of the site gets built as in this proposal, committing to approve future development that matches our goals–tying our hands against pickiness–would be the single biggest thing we could do to allay the concerns I hear from developers currently working in metro Detroit: they don’t want to come in facing the same level of uncertainty as Core Resources (Family Dollar’s developer).

        Council did vote (4-1) to accept the letter of intent from Core Resources and move forward in the process of developing a final sale proposal, which would come back to Council within 90 days for public hearing and action. Councilmember Voght was opposed; Councilmembers Jefferson and Richardson sounded most supportive, saying that they’d heard from many 1st Ward constituents as enthusiastic “not just to see buildings on Water Street, but something that can meet their needs.” Councilmembers Robb and Murdock sounded less than enthusiastic, but willing to have the process keep moving.

        Jean Henry’s comments on the other thread are probably appropriate here: if we as community members think we want something “better” for this parcel or the rest of the Water Street site, by whatever definition, it’ll take a coordinated, on-going effort — we can’t just pay a lot of attention to Water Street every time we don’t like what’s happening, and then shut up in between.

        Every Council election, there’s a vocal, visible movement for liquidating Water Street as fast as possible, to cut our losses, and nobody really pushing back on that. Every budget cycle, folks are up in front of Council (and the media) telling them to sell, sell, sell, and nobody’s up there saying, “Not so fast.” (Former Mayor Farmer deserves credit as an exception in this regard.) Every time Water Street appears in in the news, or the city’s budget in general, people rush to attack the city, and nobody’s out there advocating for Water Street as an asset to be invested wisely.

        If we want the city to do “better” on Water Street, we’ve got to be out there visibly supporting their efforts to do better. (Which is very different than attacking their failings, but showing up to do that is at least a good demonstration of interest: I was actually surprised how few people were at council to speak last night.)

      93. Mr. X
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        I can’t speak for everyone, but I imagine that there were others, like me, who just found out that this was on the agenda a few days ago and already had holiday related plans.

      94. My First Meme
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Am I doing this right?

        http://memegenerator.net/instance/30578109

      95. kjc
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the information Murph. I think Jean Henry has made good points as well. I read Katrease Stafford’s account of the meeting in annarbor.com. Definitely not feeling the equation of Family Dollar with “poverty and discount”, whatever that means. Poverty exists. Discounts are a mixed bag. Affordability is something I can get behind in general, i.e., I’m not necessarily looking for Main St in Ann Arbor as I’m no fan of overpriced stores, local or otherwise. Don’t get me started on the prices of some of the holiday crap at Downtown Home and Garden either. I’m convinced half the antique stores in Ypsi don’t want to sell anything, as I see the same merchandise sitting there month after month. so there’s that aspect as well. I can understand constituents who can get behind FD for “meeting their needs” in this context.

      96. roots
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        I also attended the meeting last night.

        Murph, I’m recalling the question in mention may have been “would FD accept any other parcel of land for the store’s development?”

        One concern I had after hearing the details last night is that, if this FD is built, there would soon be 4 FD stores in Ypsi. For such a small town, that seems superfluous at best.

        I agree with Murph’s point: “If we want the city to do “better” on Water Street, we’ve got to be out there visibly supporting their efforts to do better.”

        I’m not one to appreciate complaints without proposed solutions, but I will admit I’m not yet experienced with grassroots efforts – willing and able, but uncertain of the best direction for supporting “better” options.

        Is it time for a gathering of concerned citizens? (And again, I don’t mean to hear complaints…if we already know we don’t want FD, what can we focus on to promote an alternative?)

        Some future date at Bona Sera?

      97. kjc
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        “Is it time for a gathering of concerned citizens? (And again, I don’t mean to hear complaints…if we already know we don’t want FD, what can we focus on to promote an alternative?)”

        I’d turn up.

      98. Brainless
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks to Murph for your incredibly detailed updates. I keep coming here to read a blog and get actual solid journalism. Strange feeling.

        For all the “coordinated, on-going effort[s]” one might throw at it, wouldn’t it be easier and better to, you know, just start a regular old business?

      99. kjc
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        “For all the “coordinated, on-going effort[s]” one might throw at it, wouldn’t it be easier and better to, you know, just start a regular old business?”

        yes we know we’re all idiots blah blah.

      100. Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        @brainless — “wouldn’t it be easier … to, you know, just start a regular old business?” I’m guessing you’ve never started a business, if you’re letting the word “easier” anywhere near the idea! ;) (I sure haven’t.)

        And yes, I think there’s a lot of room for people to contribute to downtown Ypsi by starting businesses, and people like Leslie and Heikk are to be commended for their work there. But “starting a regular old business” is a much different task than “making new bricks and mortar development happen.” I’m guessing MIX and the Rocket and Beezy’s are paying rents somewhere in the $12-18 / sf range, annualized, either gross rent (including all property tax and utils) or net of utils. Neither of them are in any position to take on new construction to the tune of $200/sf, plus property taxes & utils, plus 12-18 months of process and construction before the space is occupyable. Nor do I think any of them have business models that include taking on the headaches of landlording the lofts or offices or whatever would go upstairs from them in a multi-story new build situation.

        Property development is a wildly different skillset and set of risks than running a retail shop. That’s why, to be honest, we should probably expect Water Street to include some national and regional chains, even if we get it built to our wildest dreams’ specifications: it’s the chains that can afford to pay the early years’ rent on new construction (or to have their own semi-in-house development wings, as we see with BK and Family Dollar). So that’s an important piece of soul-searching: if we could get Water Street filled with buildings that look like the Kresge Block, and paid enough taxes to take care of the debt, but the price of that was that Family Dollar and Biggby’s were tenants in some of the retail spaces, would that be okay? If our answer is “no”, then our herculean task becomes that much harder.

        This is part of why I was hauling out site plans from Freed c. 2006 for the meeting: people loved those plans, and were super-excited about them, but they probably would have had a number of chains as the initial tenants, and nobody seemed to be too upset about that then. Are our expectations higher now than they were in 2006?

      101. Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        @my first meme — I’m feeling left out. Why is it that Brian gets his very own meme for raising the possibility that race and class are part of the objection to Family Dollar (viz. comments at last night’s council meeting about Family Dollar “communicating poverty”), while I say the same things and get away scot-free?

      102. Posted November 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        “wouldn’t it be easier and better to, you know, just start a regular old business?”

        What’s “a regular old business?”

      103. kjc
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        “So that’s an important piece of soul-searching: if we could get Water Street filled with buildings that look like the Kresge Block, and paid enough taxes to take care of the debt, but the price of that was that Family Dollar and Biggby’s were tenants in some of the retail spaces, would that be okay?”

        To me it would.

        Race and class are part of everything. Including Brian’s comments. Trying to call out phantom people is a waste of time. I still don’t get why Robb wants to represent people when he can’t stand them.

      104. alan2102
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Murph
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm
        “I’m feeling left out. Why is it that Brian gets his very own meme for raising the possibility that race and class are part of the objection to Family Dollar (viz. comments at last night’s council meeting about Family Dollar “communicating poverty”), while I say the same things and get away scot-free?”

        Because you’re a member of the tribe. Others are not.

        http://markmaynard.com/2012/11/ypsilanti-deserves-better-than-a-family-dollar-store-on-water-street/comment-page-3/#comment-420592

      105. Dan
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Brainless is the only sane person in this thread. Chase Ingersoll is right as well.

        You all want this hipster paradise of organic farmers markets and juice bars and flower peddlers etc. Thats not what will survive in ypsi. If you think it will, then open up your organic flower/farmers market with a juice bar and collect your riches.

        What WILL survive in ypsi is a discount retailer. that doesnt sound good to you guys, but thats reality. You cant force BS like shipping cart condos on a place. no one wants to live in a shipping cart except you and your hipster friends. 85% of Ypsi would rather have a Family Dollar, an Arby’s and a liquor store on Water Street. Ya know, places that the majority of the poverty stricken city will actually go to.

        Go build your solar powered American Apparel store. you’ll see your same friends there that you see every day. What you wont see is the majority of Ypsi residents there.

      106. Posted November 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Dan,

        Untrue. Myself and one other person called for a medium sized grocery retailer. Both myself and the other person called for an Aldi or a TJ’s, both large chains (though owned by the same people).

        Those choices are preferable to me as they both sell groceries, something Ypsi badly needs, pay fair wages and provide health insurance to all employees who work over 20 hours a week. Aldi also sells quality food for very reasonable prices.

        At the same time, you can’t blame people for making their wishes known.

        As for whether Ypsi is poverty stricken, it is very true that there are many impoverished restaurants. It is also true that the market is already saturated with fast food places and liquor stores. It is also true that some people in Ypsi are NOT impoverished and don’t shop at those places.

        I recognize that Ypsi has troubles, but you, who live there, must realize that many people there are doing quite well. Ypsi has to serve both communities.

      107. Posted November 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        I meant “impoverished people” not “impoverished restaurants.”

        Hidden Dragon is fantastic.

      108. Posted November 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        I was curious.

        There are at least 18 liquor and beers stores in Ypsilanti (vs. at least 22 in neighboring Ann Arbor). That’s nearly one liquor/beer store per 1,000 people in Ypsilanti (vs. 1 per approx 5,000 in Ann Arbor).

        Unfortunately, there’s only one Arby’s.

        I think Dan’s solved the problem of Water Street.

      109. alan2102
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Dan
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm
        “Brainless is the only sane person in this thread. Chase Ingersoll is right as well.
        You all want this hipster paradise of organic farmers markets and juice bars and flower peddlers etc. Thats not what will survive in ypsi. ”

        You’re probably right. Ah, well. It was a pleasant fantasy.

        How about a strip mall with: dollar store, Arby’s, liquor store, check-cashing joint, gun & knife store and/or mil surplus, resale store, mini-Baptist church, soup kitchen, and pawn shop? One-stop shopping for all the essentials. (Adult book store could be added, but all that stuff is now free on the web.)

      110. alan2102
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Peter Larson
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm
        “There are at least 18 liquor and beers stores in Ypsilanti (vs. at least 22 in neighboring Ann Arbor). That’s nearly one liquor/beer store per 1,000 people in Ypsilanti (vs. 1 per approx 5,000 in Ann Arbor).”

        Wow! Good work. That says a bunch. HUGE interest in alcohol in ypsi.

        Where’s the local place giving instruction on how to prep your own mash and distill your own booze, at about 10% of the cost of buying it at a liquor store?

      111. anonymous
        Posted November 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        or it could mean fewer grocery stores in ypsi, you fucking sociopath

      112. alan2102
        Posted November 22, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Anonymous:
        “or it could mean fewer grocery stores in ypsi”

        I’m trying to understand. You mean, if there were more grocery stores, there would be fewer liquor stores? Why would that be? Or do you mean that because there are so many liquor stores, there are fewer grocery stores? If so, why would that be? I don’t see the connection.

      113. Lenewee wee
        Posted November 22, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Hidden Dragon is fantastic.

        I miss him/her too.

        I did a google image search for FD and I am curious as to why Mark chose the pic that he did from the dozens of choices? I am sure race and class had nothing to do with the choice, but what did?

      114. ypsijav
        Posted November 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        @Peter Larson When wholeheartedly endorsing Hiddrn Dragon you should specify asking for the Chinese traditional menu at Hidden Dragon. The faux-Chinese offerings are pretty gross and they don’t give the option to non-Asians unless you ask.

      115. Posted November 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        As I was told and previously thought.

        I don’t think that’s the case anymore, but then, since I often dine with a person from an Asian country, we might be getting the “other” menu.

        I think the biggest problem is that people don’t know what much of the menu is and stick to the common American dishes.

      116. ava
        Posted January 14, 2013 at 1:30 am | Permalink

        What’s happened with this? Does anyone know? I’m looking for a job that pays 4 cents over minimum wage?

      117. Mosiac
        Posted March 2, 2013 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        Is this going to happen? I look forward to the prospect of pulling my family out of poverty by making 7-cents over minimum wage.

      118. Rocket by proxy
        Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        Paul Balcom (The Rocket):

        “It is very sad to me that the city of Ypsilanti is willing to put a Family Dollar at the cusp of downtown. There are many downtown businesses striving to create a ‘go to mecca’ for visitors to this community and to enhance the experience for our local citizens and this does not meld into that equation. FD does not make our community unique and doesn’t lure anyone from very far away. It risks being an anchor for other businesses to locate near it that have the same lackluster image. Say it isn’t so!”

      119. Meta
        Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Family Dollar is apparently going to be discussed again at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and a vote will be taken as to whether or not we want to move forward.

        AnnArbor.com:
        http://annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti/water-street-history/

      120. Elliott
        Posted May 8, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        We might deserve better, but we’re not getting it. Thanks to City Council, it looks like we’ll be getting ourselves another dollar store. So much for the bright future that we were promised when our tax dollars were used to buy the property.

        http://www.annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti/ypsilantis-1st-water-street-development-12m-family-dollar-construction-to-begin-by-fall/

      121. K2
        Posted May 8, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        All the positivity I felt about Water Street, having watched the seed bombing from afar, is fading away.

      122. Elliott
        Posted July 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        The deal has been made. Its now official.

        http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/07/family_dollar_site_officially.html

      5 Trackbacks

      1. [...] !important;margin:0 !important;}Skip to content AboutArchiveShopContact « Ypsilanti deserves better than a Family Dollar store on Water StreetGrand Rapids shows us how economic development is done right… home-grown food entrepreneurship [...]

      2. [...] in downtown Ypsilanti known as the Water Street development project. In the first post, I outlined my objection to Family Dollar as an anchor tenant for the project, which could very well define our City for the next 50 years. And, in the second, I [...]

      3. By State of the City 2013: Shaping Ypsilanti on March 5, 2013 at 11:43 pm

        [...] and north of the site, and provided a building that could be adapted to other uses in the future. (Our discussion on the potential of Water Street and the prospect of Family Dollar.)The crux of the Family Dollar debate was this: what type of developments on Water Street will [...]

      4. [...] of our downtown). Here, to begin with, are the facts as I know them.1. A few weeks ago, over the objections of many in the community, our City Council voted to accept a $210,000 bid by Core Resources LLC for a parcel of City-owned [...]

      5. By Water Street Flats… What are your thoughts? on January 21, 2014 at 11:50 am

        […] few years ago, I think I would have had quite a bit to say about this. Now, though, in the wake of the Family Dollar announcement, I think I’ve come to accept the fact that Water Street isn’t going to become what […]

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


      one × = 8

      You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

        Connect

        Corner ad Wurst Bar ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Apes Selection