New Owners at Jefferson Market
Ed Green and Angie May met at a Berkeley diner.
From the September, 2019 issue
The Jefferson Market on W. Jefferson was closed for a grand total of three days before new owners Angie May and Ed Green reopened the store-turned-cafe in late June. "We were really only closed one extra day, since they were already closing on Mondays and Tuesdays," says May. "In an effort to keep customers and staff, we wanted to open pretty quickly."
The market was in the news most recently when the Washtenaw Area Coffee Workers' Association labor union protested Mighty Good Coffee's abrupt closure of all four of its locations, including Jefferson Market. Mighty Good's owners cited a strain on their personal lives for the closures, and reached a cessation agreement with the union in April.
The little brick storefront across from Bach Elementary is a survivor from the pre-zoning era, when small markets dotted Ann Arbor neighborhoods. More recently it's been a party store, a neighborhood cafe with a small selection of groceries, Mary Rasmussen's "cakery," and a Mighty Good location (which kept some favorites from the cafe , like made-to-order french fries).
May and Green started out with the same hours, staff, and menu as Mighty Good. "Over the weeks we've just increased what we have," says May, "so that we put our imprint on it but also kept what was working."
"It's been in the neighborhood for a really long time, and it certainly feels like a neighborhood establishment," Green adds. "And so we definitely wanted to continue that and just build on that, kind of maintaining the same vibe as before, but we're trying to make it more of a breakfast and lunch place, more of a restaurant than a coffee shop." At press time, they'd added a veggie sandwich and a roasted beet and herbed goat cheese toast.
The couple hail from California, where they both worked at a small Berkeley diner. "I'd been there for about thirty years," says Green. "I hired her about fifteen years ago," he says, gesturing toward
May. "It was a really fun place to work, but we just said we wanted to get into a smaller town and have our own business. After thirty years of running someone else's [business], it was like 'Why don't we do this for ourselves?'"
They searched the country for suitable options. and by chance happened upon the newly for-sale market. They jumped to sign the lease and make the move and arrived in Ann Arbor with their two sons just four days before the reopening.
The retro-style interior has stayed nearly identical across four owners, and May and Green have even kept some of the old wall decorations up. Green says they hope to add some of their own flair, but for now "all of our stuff is still in storage!"
The couple say they're excited to be in Ann Arbor and look forward to seeing more of it once they catch their breath. Their kids got to Top of the Park and the Art Fairs, says May, but for the couple themselves, "Really, it's been all about the Jefferson Market. We wouldn't want it any other way, but we're hoping at some point to step outside."
Jefferson Market, 609 W. Jefferson. (734) 665-6666. Wed.-Sun. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Mon. & Tues. thejeffersonmarket.com
[Originally published in September, 2019.]
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