The Home Shopping Network descends on a defenseless Ypsilanti


Long gone are the days when A-list Hollywood celebrities like Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore and Milla Jovovich would flock to Ypsilnati and cause a stir. Today, things are different. Now that our overly-aggressive film industry incentives have dried up, and the steady flow of celebrities has slowed to a trickle, it takes a hell of a lot less to make us giddy with excitement. Judging from the crowds I saw earlier this evening in Riverside Park, all it takes to get the people of Ypsilanti whipped up into a star-struck frenzy these days is the prospect of a live infomercial being shot on the banks of the Huron River… which is apparently what’s going to happen on Sunday afternoon, when the QVC cameras go live.

Q2As I don’t pay particularly close attention to the home shopping industry, I’ve spent the past hour or so trying to determine what brought four massive QVC tractor trailers rolling into town today like an invading army, taking over Riverside Park, and displacing our sleepy, little town’s annual fire truck muster.

Well, it would seem that an Ypsi resident by the name of Dwight Burdette is ultimately to blame. Burdette, a fan of a QVC program called In the Kitchen with David, decided to nominate his favorite local restaurant for a stop on host David Venable’s first annual road trip. Burdette pitched our beloved local restaurant Haab’s, setting in motion a chain of events which led us to where we are today.

Here, for those of you who, like me, are new to all of this, is footage of the QVC host visiting Haab’s after the announcement of their victory in the competition, and giving them the good news that, on August 25, a good portion of the Pennsylvania-based QVC network would be relocating to Ypsilanti and shooting a three-hour live segment.

I should probably add at this point that I’m very happy for my friends at Haab’s. They’ve been busting their asses for a long, long time, and they deserve the positive exposure that came along with this distinction. According to restaurant co-owner David Kabat, who was interviewed yesterday on WEMU, the response has been overwhelming, and I think that’s awesome. With that said, though, I find the whole thing just a little weird. And I can’t help but wonder how all of this came to pass.

Sure, Haab’s is worthy of national attention. I’m not suggesting otherwise. I just know, having been around the block a few times, that corporate decisions like these are never made just based on merit. In other words, I’m certain that it wasn’t just the unique decor, delicious food, and compelling history of Haab’s that made it appealing to producers. I’m figuring it also had something to do with our geographic proximity to other stops on this particular tour, the demographic make-up of our population, the items that they have lined up to sell right now, and the willingness of our City to disregard previous commitments and hand over our public park (for a price) so that they could peddle hamburger meat and Old World Lotion Dispensers to an “ooohing” and “aaahing” live audience.

But, all of that, I think, is likely secondary to the main reason QVC wants to be here. I think they’re purposefully establishing a presence in Michigan so that, when the time comes, they can handle the selling of the DIA collection for Kevyn Orr and Governor Snyder.

[For those of you who would like to see things unfold live on Sunday, between 12:00 and 3:00, the event is officially sold out according to the QVC website. I’m told, however, that it’s unlikely that people who just show up will be turned away, as they’d like to have as many as 5,000 people watching from the banks of the river.]

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  1. anonymous
    Posted August 24, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    QVC doesn’t exit to give restaurant awards. It exists to sell overstock. This may be good for Haabs, but they’re being used.

  2. Eel
    Posted August 24, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    How much did QVC pay for shutting down that corner of the park for the weekend?

  3. Elliott
    Posted August 24, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Does anyone watch the show? Is it a legitimate cooking show or it everything orchestrated to move the products they’ve been hired to sell?

  4. K
    Posted August 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    They paid the city in Sham Wows.

  5. DeNiros Bodyguard
    Posted August 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Bob DeNiro loves chicken-in-a-basket.

  6. R2
    Posted August 24, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    It will break my heart if they have the folks from Haabs on stage talking about how their food is so good because they use a certain kind of Ginsu knife.

  7. Robert
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Flipping through the channels, I always suspected QVC was broadcasting from somewhere in Ypsi.

  8. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    While I am glad to see Haabs and Ypsi get more attention, it is really horrible that Ypsi’s own Michigan Firehouse Museum, which had its Fire Truck Muster scheduled a long, long time ago for Riverside Park, was kicked out so QVC could do their thing. I really would not blame the Firehouse Museum if they decided to have their next Muster anywhere but Ypsilanti as booking a park for an event now means you could be cancelled for any reason at all.

  9. Meta
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink has photos.

  10. mary gooden
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Thank you QVC for a wonderful day in the park. The QVC folks could not have been nicer. Very impressed at how you take your show on the road. I also want to thank the Mayor for the water he distributed to the crowd, Crime Prevention and Ypsi PD could not have been more helpful. Can’t forget David and all of the host who keep us watching. Great Job!!!

One Trackback

  1. By Sunday’s big Ypsilanti infomercial on August 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    […] I mentioned a few days ago, Ypsilanti had the distinction yesterday of playing host to a three-hour-long, live infomercial. While I couldn’t attend in person, as I had a meeting in Ann Arbor at the same time, I did […]

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