2011 July

Garden Connections opens

“Marijuana is the undercurrent of our business,” acknowledges Shane Callanan, owner of Garden Connections, a new hydroponics store in Jackson Road’s Independence Plaza. Because of its fussiness and high value,...

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Innocence vs. Experience

The four challengers in the August 2 Democratic primary might seem to have a difficult–if not impossible–task.Stephen Rapundalo, Ward Two’s representative since 2005, is well known for his tough negotiating...

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Big Boy’s Green Thumb

The Big Boy on Plymouth Road has a decidedly non-chainlike approach to landscaping. In June, nearly two dozen hanging baskets of petunias lined the sidewalks from the parking lot, while little green sunflower shoots promised a...

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David’s Books closes

Ed Koster closed David’s Books in June after a twenty-seven-year run. The bookstore, founded in the late 1970s by David Kozubei, had occupied a series of spaces on Liberty and State streets.Koster is philosophical about...

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Suwanee Springs closes

Suwanee Springs closed at the end of May, and its owner, Wally Meyers, a downtown retailer whose stores have been pretty much a reprise of the Ann Arbor zeitgeist over forty years, is moving to Thailand. The first Suwanee...

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That boarded-up house on First

Q. I’m wondering about the boarded-up house at the corner of Kingsley and First. Why is the house sitting there in that shape? It’s like Detroit.A. The house is in the Allen Creek floodway, which means it can neither...

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Bigger Digs for Arbor Teas

They won’t be able to hand deliver their neighbors’ orders any more, but that’s the only drawback Aubrey Lopatin can see to moving Arbor Teas, her and her husband Jeremy’s seven-year-old online tea...

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Small world

The AAUW Book Sale that takes place every September at WCC’s Morris Lawrence Building is one of the largest in the country. The sale, whose proceeds are used mainly for scholarships, grosses about $40,000 over one weekend,...

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Ann Arborite Tom Bartlett

Tom Bartlett is the owner of the mystery storefront at 111 S. Fourth Ave., next to the Embassy Hotel. Its window displays an odd black bicycle and the name “Circumference.” Business cards taped to the door give...

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From Dearborn to Ann Arbor

Kassem Chammout (who goes by Kasey) knows how to run a full-service restaurant. His La Pita Dearborn is a large complex, including restaurant, nightclub, catering business, and banquet rooms. So to him, opening the stripped-down...

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Jehovah’s Witness…

The Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program has a great band name–and knows how to have a good time. The Ypsilanti duo, featuring Anthony Anonymous on guitar and vocals and Jehan Dough on drums (those are their...

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Pet Emporium moves to town

After five years at Copper Leaf Crossing on Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Beth and John Lebert have moved their Pet Emporium to Lamp Post Plaza, a couple of doors down from Trader Joe’s. “I’ve always wanted to be...

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Art That Wiggles Its Butt

Asked for his definition of a good poem, Howard Moss, longtime poetry editor of the New Yorker magazine, replied, “One I like.”Artists who submit their work to any of the four Ann Arbor art fairs are likely to...

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The Liquidators Cometh

At 4:10 p.m. on Monday, July 18, Borders Inc. made it official: the business is dead, the liquidators are coming. Yet two hours later, things seemed almost like normal at the downtown Borders, “Store Number One.” A...

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Counting Crowds

How many people attend the Ann Arbor Art Fair? I googled that question and found “over 500,000 visitors attend the fairs each year” (Wikipedia), “an estimated half-million visitors” ( AnnArbor.com), and...

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Bully Good

The stage for this reckoning was set in the November 2010 Observer. Before she left to write about restaurants in Seattle, reviewer Hanna Raskin asked whether Ann Arbor would have “the local meat to compete” when...

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Bonnie Jo Campbell

Two years ago, after a couple of decades of hard work, Bonnie Jo Campbell hit it big with American Salvage, a collection of tough stories placed in rural western Michigan–and published by a small university press (Wayne...

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Himalayan Bazaar moves to Main

A new shop on Main Street is redolent of an older Ann Arbor many people hold dear, whether it is the Ann Arbor of 1970s head shops or of the 1990s Jewel Heart: incense, singing bowls, silver jewelry, scarves, and other...

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Wild Pigs Eat Bambi

If you’re armed and happen to see several hundred pounds of ugly, aggressive wild pig–shoot to kill.That’s the word from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and state hunters have taken them up on it,...

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Goodnight Keith Moon

“It was late 2008,” recalls Bruce Worden. “I’m a fan of old rock ‘n’ roll, and I’d been listening to the Who that day, and when I was reading Goodnight Moon to my son Harrison that...

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