By the time you read this, the Wild Bird Center in Plymouth Mall should be closed. “I don’t have a definitive date,” says Lisa Haanpaa, who’s owned the franchise since 2009, but she planned to close “whenever the merchandise runs out” and no later than the end of February. Haanpaa says that transient students have replaced the settled, upper-income customers who patronized the store when Pfizer was across the street. Though she bought the franchise and took over the lease from previous owner Wayne Baker after Pfizer left town, at the time she didn’t understand how the changing demographics would affect her business. Students, she says, don’t usually feed birds. Haanpaa also owned a Wild Bird Center in Brighton, which she closed in 2010. “I guess I’ll go back to accounting,” her original profession, she sighs.
This article has been edited since it appeared in the March 2014 Ann Arbor Observer. The store’s location has been corrected.