Paula Fader-Garff says it’s hard to pinpoint a single factor that led her to close Paula’s Place, her five-year-old ice cream and sandwich shop. It was mostly the economy, but “the lack of visibility didn’t help.” Located in a strip mall on Packard, her store was off to one side and visible only to cars heading toward Stadium. “People kept coming in and saying, ‘Man, I’ve been driving up and down Packard looking for you for years and couldn’t find you.'” By the time they did find her, it was too late. “We opened right before [the economy] started to go south, and we weren’t able to build up a cash reserve before it tanked.”
Fader-Garff and her family still live in the neighborhood. “It’s very hard to drive by it. The sign’s still up. It’s sad to think you put so much time and energy into something and it didn’t work out.”
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The Senor Lopez Taqueria in the Boulevard Shopping center on West Stadium went dark in mid-February. According to an employee in a neighboring store, there was no warning–the staff just stopped showing up one day, “then a week later some people came and cleared the place out–lock, stock, and barrel.” Owner Raphael Lopez couldn’t be reached for comment, but his original Senor Lopez in Detroit is apparently still going strong–employees answered calls with raised voices over the cheerful din. Their answer was always the same–things were very busy, and Mr. Lopez didn’t have time to talk.
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