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Posted on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor's Greenback Dollar Store relocating as Gordon Food Service plans to buy building

By Lizzy Alfs


The Greenback Dollar Store plans to relocate to 2026 W. Stadium Blvd. in March.

The 11-year-old Greenback Dollar Store on the corner of West Stadium and West Liberty in Ann Arbor plans to relocate in March, owner Laith Hanna said.

Hanna said he has to move as Gordon Food Service — a Grand Rapids-based food service distributor — prepares to purchase a portion of the building at 2196 W. Stadium Boulevard.

Although Hanna hasn’t finalized lease negotiations, he hopes to move around the corner to 2026 W. Stadium Blvd. when his current lease expires next month. The new space shares a building with Dimo’s Deli and Donuts and Budget Cleaners.

“I wanted to stay in the area,” Hanna said. “I have great customers and a great neighborhood, so this is the only place I found that is close by and it’s affordable.”

Gordon Food Service submitted plans to the city of Ann Arbor in November to open a marketplace store in a portion of the building on West Liberty Street. The 23,000-square-foot building has a 10,000-square-foot vacancy, formerly a CVS Pharmacy, and is occupied by the dollar store and O’Reilly Auto Parts.

According to city documents, Gordon Food Service plans to purchase the portion of the building occupied by Greenback and the former CVS from current owner Michael Sisskind. Gordon Food Service is requesting a land division to split the parcel, a 980-square-foot building addition, an interior remodel and modifications to the driveway off Stadium Boulevard.

Hanna said his new Greenback Dollar Store location will be about half the size of his current store, but customers won’t notice too many changes.

“I’ll try to keep everything the same except we will have it in a smaller proportion,” he said.

“I have been doing this for a long time so I know what customers' needs are. It feels like family, so it’s hard to close down and leave,” he continued.

Gordon Food Service operates a GFS Marketplace store on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township. The stores supply foodservice products to restaurants, schools and other institutions, and customers can buy goods in bulk at the store.

The company was founded in 1897 and the first marketplace store opened in 1979. There currently are 151 GFS Marketplace stores in nine states, according to GFS spokesman Mark Dempsey.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

things like this's all about $$$$$$'s to the property owner.

Ann Arbor Lady1

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

I am so relieved to see that Mr. Hanna is relocating close by! I will be first in line to support this local business! If you haven't been there before, you will be amazed at some of the items you will find there - not the regular corporate dollar store junk you find at Dollar Tree - he has real quality items! I dont know how he sells some of his items for only a dollar. And he is a very nice man as well. Good luck Mr. Hanna :)


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

a2ta: Back in the days it was a grocery Wrigley"s then Chuck E Cheese took it.

Wystan Stevens

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

60+ years ago, it was a National Food Store -- not Wrigley's. Wrigley's was farther north on Stadium, where Hollywood Video recently gave up the ghost.

Wystan Stevens

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

Commerce on that corner started c.1950, with a National Food Store supermarket. When National quit, Vescio's (pronounced "Vay-Shows") moved in. After Vescio's left, in the 1970s, the empty supermarket shell was greatly enlarged and drastically revamped, with the addition of picturesque corner towers and fake crenelated battlements, to become a castle known as Roma Hall (a branch of the original Roma Hall in Livonia). Stuccoed and spray-painted pink, it was a catering place, with rooms for parties or wedding receptions -- and even a wide, curving staircase-to-nowhere, from which the fair maiden of the day could descend, and fling her bridal bouquet, to the applause of her courtiers. After Roma Hall, it became Chuck-E-Cheese's pizza party and pandemonium place, infested with running, screaming, snotnosed kids. And finally CVS (part of a chain originally known as the Consumers' Value Store), moved in for a run of several years. CVS took a hike around the corner recently, and built itself a bigger store there, that faces Stadium Boulevard.

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

Thank you, Mr. Stevens. Those who do not remember history are condemned to argue facts.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

A fine example of recycle/ reuse ..It was a grocery store when it was built...


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 8 p.m.

GFS is expanding, always a good thing for the local economy. I have had mixed experiences there at the location on Carpenter. The staff have always been helpful, but I found the prepared food bland and boring. They have good prices on some non-food items. Glad they are doing well and expanding to the west side.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Was it really founded in 1897? If so then it only took them and 82 years to get a store open??


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

We find that dollar store, and its manger, to be a good source for stuff...glad it's still to be in the neighborhood.

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

Relief! I noticed that stock was getting sparse on Greenback's shelves and feared it would disappear. It is habitual to shop at Greenback after getting parts at O'Reilly Auto.

Ann English

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Habit or not, the Dollar Tree stores don't sell garlic supplements. Greenback does, more regularly than the cold medicine they sell.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

GFS would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. I currently have to drive over to Carpenter to buy the items I get there. This would be much more convenient.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Mr. Hanna, good luck @ your new location, I'll be by from time to time! please keep selling those 4 for a dollar, non-child-proof lighters that you have on your counter! No, I don't smoke but how in thunderation can I light my candles/incense?

Ann English

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

I was just wondering if there'll be room in the new location for a free-standing rack holding the incense sold there. Not sold on the shelf at the current location.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

With Gordon Foods going in, "someone" won't have to drive so far for his "homemade pies".


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

I love Greenback, too. I'm glad he's staying in business.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

It is a great Dollar Store. Even though it's half the size of some others It is packed with unusual items. You never know what you might find. I'm relieved to hear they are relocating. The owner is a very nice guy.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Hanna was very happy he would be able to stay in the same neighborhood where he's operated the store for more than a decade. It's very important to business owners who are relocating - you don't want to lose your very loyal customers!

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

I haven't checked in on that property in a couple months, but I will. I'm not sure what's holding things up.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

It's kind of interesting how many places have and are moving from S. Main to Staium. I think the affordability there on Stadium is much better. When is the construction going to begin on S. Main for the high rise? (If known)


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Who said Chuck E. Cheese? What about Roma Hall....We had our wedding reception there!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

Roma Hall and Chuck E. Cheese... man, those were the days.... and La Pinata across the street!

Chip Reed

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

It was a grocery store first. Perhaps National Foods?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

As I recall, Roma Hall was the outfit that built the building, though it may have been torn down and remodeled into it's present configuration?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Wasn't there also a tobacco shop in that building with Dimo's and the dry cleaner? Did that go belly up already? Seems like it opened less than a year ago.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Yes, there was and it closed.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Great Store , Nice people!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

I really wish GFS would locate at the end of East Michigan in Ypsilanti. I love this store but find it hard to get to unless I go out of my way. Glad to hear they are adding a new store. That side of town could use one since there is not much there anyways.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

So glad he found another location in the area -- shop there a great deal. Best wishes in your new location.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Oh just bring back Chucky Cheese......the OLD style one that was dark and seedy.

Jim Osborn

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

This is a shame for the Greenback Dollar Store, but I'm glad that he found a new location closeby.He is not part of a big chain. This Dollar store is different in that many items are actually items that once were more expensive and now are discounted. For example a few years ago, I bought great cases for a Razer cell phone that were selling for $7 elsewehre and even $10 at the Sprint store. I've bought Rustoleeum paint and a all sorts of phone and computer connectors. This store also sells some items for $1.25 and $1.50 such as umbrellas that you cannot find at other dollar stores and umbrellas are usually $5 at places such as major retailers. I hope that the smaller size does not hamper his ability to get good deals and pass them along to his customers.

Ann English

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

I'm assuming that the empty shelves I've been seeing are because of the upcoming relocation, just temporary. That they'll be filled with 100-count green tea packages, cough drop packages, dried whole green peas, decaf peppermint tea, cinnamon tea and of course, the 100-count black caffeinated tea they were down to just a few of yesterday.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

That's my favorite dollar store in Ann Arbor. I'll be shopping at the new location and wish Mr. Hanna the best of luck.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Good to hear GFS is still doing OK, especially with Costco in the picture. It'll be nice to have one closer.

Carol Burgener

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I'm glad Greenback is staying in the neighborhood. It's a great store!

Silly Sally

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

this store has unusual items that are not found at the other Dollar Stores.