Stores continue to open at Arbor Hills Crossing.
V2V is the second Ann Arbor location of Tes Haas’s clothing and “lifestyle” store that originated at Kerrytown in the 1980s. Haas’s store was originally called Vintage2Vogue and occupied a different Kerrytown spot from its current one on the north end. V2V now has offspring in Petoskey and Charleston, South Carolina, too.
The stores are not clones. “All of them have slightly different personalities,” explains manager Mia Bell. This one is kind of a clothes horse, and not so much into the lifestyle stuff (a catchall term for Haas’s retail whims, which run freely from cosmetics to furniture).
This store also offers lacy, feminine underwear. You can be fitted for it by Hannah, a “certified bra specialist,” who used to work at Victoria’s Secret. In early October Hannah was still waiting for a special measuring device to arrive–there are depths to this craft that cannot be plumbed with a plain old tape measure.
The spirited and lively Bell, who got the job by answering an ad, says Haas is “awesome” to work for. She talks about the contrast between managing V2V and her previous job as executive team leader for a Flint-area Target, where everything on the floor was based on a “planogram” that arrived by mail, “telling you ‘this sweater goes with this pair of pants.’ Then the district team leader came in and checked how you did the ‘visual adjacency,'” Target-speak for correctly interpreting the “planogram.”
“Here I get to come in and play. I don’t want to sound like this is some kind of lollipop land”–she reconsiders, then cracks another incandescent smile, “but it is! I was so used to people coming in and tearing me apart!”
Bell says V2V signed on at Arbor Hills at almost the last minute, when Haas ran into friend Hediye Batu at Whole Foods. Batu owns Cafe Zola, and had eagerly snapped up a space in Arbor Hills for her new Zola Bistro, which planned to open in mid-October.
Arhaus, a small furniture chain that manufactures its own designs, and promises eco-sustainability, nabbed a high-profile spot, the corner building on Platt that juts out as you come over the crest of the hill going east on Washtenaw.
Arhaus previously was just down the road in Arborland. Asked why the company made such a big investment to move its store such a small distance, CFO Greg Teed asks: “Have you seen it?” Yes, and it’s pretty striking: a skylight in the soaring atrium and a burnished sparkle to everything. The general impression is smoked glass, deep rich colors, and huge pieces sculpted from tufted leather upholstery–a little like Carmela Soprano took over a Pottery Barn. (That description didn’t sit well with Teed: “Uh … we prefer not to bring other brands into our descriptions.”)
Kimberly Clark, at corporate communications, adds in an email that this season Gary Babcock, the Arhaus creative brain, is after “1920s glamour (think Gatsby!).”
Teed says the move was a no-brainer. No offense, Arborland, but all the Arhaus stores are looking for better neighborhoods and classier co-tenants. “The old store didn’t present the Arhaus brand to the same level that we would like it to today.”
In October, Bigalora pizza (formerly known as Pizzeria Biga) was nearing completion next to V2V, and Blue Mercury cosmetic boutique was looking toward a mid-month opening. Zola Bistro, Lill Studio, and Brooks Brothers Flatiron Shop also planned to open in October, and J. Jill was aiming for a November opening.
V2V, 3050 Washtenaw (Arbor Hills Crossing, Bldg. C), 531-6583. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. shopv2v.com
Arhaus, 3010 Washtenaw (Arbor Hills Crossing, Bldg. A), 477-0288. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. arhaus.com