Chelsea Marketplace Changes
The Inverness Inn returns
by Vickie Elmer
Scott Padden loves hearing people reminisce about the Inverness Inn, the roadhouse on North Territorial that he's renovated and reopened. They tell him tales from the 1950s or earlier-about eating in front of the fireplace, using the old outhouse, or having a tea party in a nearby field.
The original inn opened in 1907 near North Lake in Dexter Township. It's within view of the Inverness Country Club, which opened in 1927. The inn had closed and fallen into disrepair long before Padden discovered it.
Padden has run several businesses in the Detroit area, but he's never operated a restaurant before. Taking over the Inverness "must be fate," he says. He spent two years and a lot of money renovating the place-installing new restrooms, a new kitchen, a new floor, and poplar paneling around the bar, and updating the plumbing and wiring.
Padden wants it to be "a joint, but a nice joint" where families feel comfortable and couples come on weekends. In the big back room, which has a large-screen TV and a few video games, there's karaoke on Wednesday evenings. Padden plans to bring in oldies bands on the weekends.
He's offering a more varied menu than the old place had. "People who came out here fishing remember all they could get were sloppy joes and root beer," Padden says. He's mixing bar food like batter-fried mushrooms with ribs, burgers (including veggie burgers), sandwiches, and plenty of pizza.
"We've got people from Canada calling saying, 'Is the Inverness back open?'" he says. "And we got the original phone number back!" Not only that, says Padden, but the place also comes with a fairly friendly ghost.
The Inverness Inn, 13996 North Territorial, Dexter Township, 475-1515. Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. noon-11 p.m.
The Potting Shed is planning to move into larger digs by early October, making room for more baby items and gardening merchandise. The new location, the former spot for the Chelsea Collection, is kitty-corner across from the current tiny cubby
of a store, and at almost 2,000 square feet, it's four times the size.
"It still will be sparkly and glittery," says co-owner Bonnie Cook-and full of whimsical gifts, fairy tidbits, and antiques as well as the herbs that she and her husband, Scott, grow. She says the atmosphere at the new place will be "retro and fun" and a little less crowded. They'll have room for more baby gifts and other merchandise from antiques to holiday decorator items to jewelry. A gardening room will feature items such as flowers, vintage mossy pots, topiaries, and conservatories or miniature greenhouses.
The Potting Shed, 112 West Middle, Chelsea, 475-8086. Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.
The new home of the Chelsea Collection is a ways from downtown, but loyal antique shoppers surely will find it anyway. And the location, which housed the Peartree before it moved to Ann Arbor, provides room for a wider array of eighteenth-century furniture. The new space on Sibley Road has 2,900 square feet, about a third more than the old space. Co-owner Eric Lund says there's enough room for more jewelry and linens too. Says Lund, "We have the opportunity to showcase more of the things we've had"-and pull some inventory out of storage.
The Chelsea Collection, 6065 Sibley, suite 2, Chelsea, 433-3300. Thurs.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Mon.-Wed.
Just weeks after opening, Las Fuentes changed owners and menus-and got ready to change its name too.
The Mexican restaurant in Clocktower Commons in downtown Chelsea eventually will be known as Pancho Villa, says George Pacheco, its manager and the brother of the new owner, Eladio Pacheco. Eladio was a partner in the venture with the owners of Ypsilanti's La Fuente but then decided to buy them out.
By mid-August, a month after the opening, the menu had already changed. Besides traditional Mexican fare, Pancho Villa offers Buffalo wings, some shrimp and scallops in fajitas and other dishes, and a variety of vegetarian dishes, such as potato burritos and cauliflower rellenos.
Pancho Villa has six locations in Virginia and may want to add a couple of others in southeast Michigan, starting in Ann Arbor, George Pacheco says. But there's no timetable for that yet.
Las Fuentes (Pancho Villa), 350 North Main (Clocktower Commons), Chelsea, 475-6092. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. noon-11 p.m., Sun. noon-9 p.m.
Several shops are leaving Chelsea, closing down, or changing form.
West of the Moon Gallery, a cooperative that opened in April 2005, has gone into eclipse, but some members will continue to contribute to events in Chelsea: a "West of the Moon" booth is planned at the Chelsea Fairgrounds for a show November 22. And organizer Marsi Parker Darwin, a stained-glass artist, says she may try to rent the Chelsea Depot for a show before Christmas.
The gallery opened with nineteen artists, but membership dwindled to twelve by the time it closed in July. They sold handmade hats, handblown glass bead jewelry, glass mosaics, vintage-material bags, and more.
"I sat down and cried when we closed," says Darwin. She blames the economy, a lack of funds, and some bookkeeping problems. She's considering opening another cooperative gallery, adding that she has the rights to the name "East of the Sun."
Darwin says she will use the old website (westmoongallery.com) to announce upcoming events and plans.
Stidwill's, the antique and reproduction shop opened by a mother-daughter team in November 2006, will close in January or sooner. Cate Rosewig blamed some problems in her life for the decision to shut down. She and daughter Ryann Maxwell were happy with the business, and Rosewig plans to keep selling antiques, jewelry, pillows, throws, and other home and personal accessories online at rubylane.com under the name Stidwill's Decorative Antiques. Unless someone leases the space soon, she says, Stidwill's will be open through the end of the year, with many seasonal items to offer.
Stidwill's, 114 North Main, suite 5, Chelsea, 475-6380. Thurs.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sun.-Wed.
The Glass Slipper, a dance clothing and supply shop, will not reopen after the fire that hit a half dozen retailers and restaurants in the Chelsea Shopping Center. Also gone is Main Street Pizza and Grinders. Its quarters at 1250 South Main are for lease.
[Originally published in October, 2008.]