Don't blame Pfizer
Going through the store's sales records, she says, she can spot subsequent declines as competition increased-"We saw Plum opening up; we saw [the new] Whole Foods"-and high gasoline prices kept shoppers home. But she insists that even all that wasn't enough to close Bello Vino.
"When the economy downturned more dramatically in November, when all the retails were really hit, we were poised to weather it," she says. "We had a really good staff. We were totally ready to go through it. But we had spent five years in a very difficult building." With something always leaking or giving out, she says, they finally asked themselves, "How much money can we put into something? If we put in a new floor, it becomes the landlord's floor."
Ferris, at twenty-six, is also vice-president of Bello Vino's parent company, Federated Capital Corporation, which owns a railroad (the route of the hoped-for Ann Arbor-Howell commuter line), railroad cars, a working farm in Superior Township, and two companies that provide information technology to businesses. In the evenings she works on her M.B.A. at the U-M and then commutes back to her home in Royal Oak.