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Retail Features

Where Did All the Retail Go? How and Why Ann Arbor's Downtown is Changing

Yes, there are more restaurants and fewer retail stores in downtown Ann Arbor than there have been in recent years. But don't freak out. Downtowns evolve, change and respond to what the community needs. And the changes are less drastic than you might think.

Mix Studio Theater: Rethinking Retail Space

The promotion of mixed-use development has become a clarion call for progressive urbanists. But why limit the concept to streets and neighborhoods? How about retail spaces and storefronts? That's just what the Mix in Ypsilanti is doing.

Fourth and Washington: Retail Rejuvenation

What a difference a successful retail business makes. With Literati bookstore serving as an anchor, the retail shops (mostly locally owned) along Fourth and Washington in downtown Ann Arbor have brought vibrancy and energy into an area that once lived in the shadow of Main Street's restaurant row.

Saline's Amped Up Alley

Smart growth means employing new and innovative ideas about overlooked spaces. Consider the alley, an urban feature that conjures up all manner of unsavory images. Some communities have discovered that what was once reserved for dumpsters and smoke breaks may actually be an untapped downtown asset. Just ask Saline.

Washtenaw Avenue: The region's next best place to live?

Suburban communities all around Michigan are struggling with outdated notions of development. Here, in the Ann Arbor area, you have only to look at pedestrian-unfriendly Washtenaw Ave to see the legacy of poor urban design. The ReImagine Washtenaw project hopes to correct that by creating a transit corridor where people will one day work, live and play.
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Retail Blogs

Ingrid Ault

Is it worth paying a 6% sales tax to keep jobs in Michigan and build vibrant downtowns? Ingrid Ault, executive director of Think Local First, writes a series on how to not just talk local, but how to live local.
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Retail Videos

Doing Business in Downtown Ypsilanti

Last week, at the Concentrate speaker event, blogger Mark Maynard interviewed a quartet of local business owners about the opportunities and challenges Ypsilanti's downtown offers them. From the impact of festivals to the need for space to claims that the city is easier to work with than Ann Arbor, the conversation took some surprising turns.

Inside Aut

The \'aut Bar\ is Ann Arbor's gay and lesbian Grand Central, where you can do everything from brunch to raise a toast. It's hopping with straight folks too. This popular Ann Arbor hangout has even spawned a sister bookstore, cabaret, and gallery in its Kerrytown courtyard, earning it the moniker: the Queer Quad.
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