“Come in and have a nap!” says Jim Eiben to customers walking through the door of Mattress Geeks in the Colonnade. It’s closing, but he doesn’t know exactly when. “That’s up to the mall. They’ll let us out when they find another tenant,” he says genially. Until then Mattress Geeks will be there, unloading mattresses at deep discounts.
The nine-store regional chain just opened this store last year. “It looked good on paper, but didn’t work out. Rents are high in Ann Arbor, but people are nice here!”
Pam Behjatnia rescued Dogma Catmantoo from closing in 2014 just like she had rescued her three dogs from similarly bad fates. Alice Liberson opened the classy pet store in the early 2000s and wanted to move on. Behjatnia suddenly closed sometime over the summer. Even neighbor Vicki Honeyman didn’t find out about it until after the fact, and has no clue why. But almost immediately the store sprouted a sign that a new tenant was coming. See “Kerrytown Neighbors Turn the Corner,” above.
On September 12, Kim Darling hung up a bright-pink going-out-of-business banner for Darling Brides Showcase & Tuxedos on Jackson Rd. The sign says she’s been in business for thirty-three years, which is both more and less than the literal truth. She started working for the business thirty-three years ago: “It was Conlin Brides Showcase then. They opened in 1969.” Twenty-two years ago, she bought it and gave it her name (a no-brainer, considering the sweet business she’s in).
Probably gone by now is the rack of prom/homecoming dresses in the store’s entryway, marked down to $10 apiece. They all had the word “Sample” stitched prominently into the back of the bodice, but “you can just pick out” the lettering and no one will be the wiser, Darling advised. She planned to close the business at the end of September, with little fanfare. “I’m retiring,” she said simply.
The Staples store on Carpenter Rd. suddenly closed in August, part of an ongoing winnowing of big-box office supply stores. Office Depot bought Office Max two years ago, but earlier this year, the FTC blocked its proposed addition of Staples. So far, the Staples in Westgate is surviving the shakeout, though the employees are referring all media questions to the less-than-helpful general corporate Staples 800 number. Oddly, a branch of the Westgate store’s voice message system leads to “for employee verification press 4.” Oddly, because none of the employees who answered when we pressed 4 had any idea what employee verification meant.
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