You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Changes at Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall: New stores open, salon plans to consolidate locations

By Lizzy Alfs


Luxury lingerie boutique Soma Intimates opened in Briarwood Mall this month.

Courtesy photo

Tricho Salon & Spa plans to consolidate its two locations in Briarwood Mall in the coming months, filling a long-vacant space near MC Sports, said Briarwood Mall’s Denise Murray.

It’s part of a series of changes happening at the 1-million-square-foot shopping center, at the corner of Interstate 94 and South State Street and anchored by JCPenney, Macy's, Sears and Von Maur.

“As long as I’ve been here, the (new Tricho) space has never been occupied. It has been (vacant) maybe 12 years,” said Murray, the mall’s Director of Marketing and Business Development.

At 6,242 square feet, the consolidated Tricho location will expand its spa services and hours. It will include an exterior entrance, and the two existing salons will remain open until the new location is completed this fall.

“They’re doing a complete build-out and it’s going to really add a lot to that end of the shopping center to have that space functional again,” Murray said.

Murray declined to comment on what stores will fill Tricho Salon & Spa’s old spaces. One location includes an exterior entrance near JCPenney.

In addition to Tricho’s announcement, four new stores opened at Briarwood this spring: Soma Intimates, Vera Bradley, Perfect Fit and Warm Tidings Gifts and Decor.

Luxury lingerie boutique Soma Intimates opened its first Washtenaw County location in early April in the Sears wing of Briarwood. The Ann Arbor store has job openings for three sales positions, according to the company website. The brand operates 210 boutiques in the U.S., including stores in Novi and Troy.

Vera Bradley, an Indiana-based design company known for its colorfully patterned products, opened a 3,000-square-foot store adjacent to Soma Intimates on April 5.

A men and women’s tailoring store, Perfect Fit, opened in March in an 894-square-foot space near Sears.

Warm Tidings Gifts and Decor, a Michigan-based gift store, opened in a 1,200-square-foot space near JCPenney. Among its inventory: WoodWick candles, lodge-themed home accessories, twinkle and rice lights, framed prints, fabric accessories and country furniture. The store also sells a variety of custom made items designed by its co-owners, Michael Stang and Vern Coffman.

“We produce country and traditional gift and decor items for accounts throughout the nation,” Stang said in a statement. “We love what we do and are humbled with the growth of our business.”

In addition to store openings, Michael Kors, LUSH cosmetics and Yankee Candle are renovating space and preparing to open in the mall. Designer retailer Michael Kors is tentatively scheduled to open on April 25.

Meanwhile, Stride Rite is closed temporarily for renovations.


This Briarwood Mall entrance is being renovated but a portion of it will remain open for shoppers. file photo

The retail changes come shortly after Briarwood Mall unveiled a renovation plan, which includes new entrances, energy efficiency upgrades, fresh paint, renovated restrooms, a revamped children’s play area and additional seating in center court.

Murray said the guest services desk moved from center court, opening a space for another food user.

“That’s becoming like a mini food service area,” she said.

She said the restrooms near Macy’s are being overhauled, and the new play area has been ordered. Once the new play area is installed in the Von Maur corridor, the old one will be removed. Work is starting this week on the mall entrance near California Pizza Kitchen, although a portion of the entrance will remain open for shoppers.

“We’re seeing traffic here,” Murray said. “We’ve had different people stating they hadn’t been to the mall in years and have come back because of the stores that have been opening.”

The changes at Briarwood come as Ann Arbor’s retail landscape is growing; Nordstrom Rack opens this week in Arborland, and Arbor Hills on Washtenaw Avenue is preparing to open with more than 20 tenants this summer. freelance reporter Angela Smith contributed to this report.

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



Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

u empty 2 stores and fill 1 is that progress?


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 5:03 a.m.

What about more restaurants inside the Mall? What about fixing the roads and curbs like the sinkholes on Plaza Dr, near UMHS Building #2 ? Running a road sweeper to clean up the years of gravel and broken pavement all around the circular Service Road around the Mall ?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

Lizzy, what about EV charging would attract more customers...


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Lol.. yeah... real good ROI on that


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Did they get rid of those horrible kiosks? As long as those are still in the halls at Briarwood, I won't go near the place. Who needs aggressive vendors jumping out in front of you as you try to avoid these stand alone huts? It's like shopping in the 3rd world.


Sat, Apr 20, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

I could not agree more. I feel like wearing a shirt that says leave me alone and please don't spray me. I already smell.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

I walk by without even looking in their direction. I don't like to act that way but you can't just say, "no thank you", and walk on by. Once you speak to them, they will come right up to you and try to put lotion on your hand or whatever.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

What malls don't have kiosks in them somewhere?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

Unfortunately, I don't really feel like many of these new additions to Briarwood help to bring it up to the Twelve Oaks level. It's great that businesses are coming in the first place, but a tailor, a gift shop, and candles are all things that could be much better served as a smaller stand alone business as opposed to a mall shop. Arbor Hills is taking the higher end chain stores and Briarwood is still going to be extremely lacking on their store choices and appeal, even with the new reno.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Yeah, the Town Cobbler has been there forever and it never looks busy. Must have a great lease.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

Sorry to say so, but my thoughts exactly!


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Can you update us on the tattoo shop that moved out of Briarwood? How's it doing at it's new location? If I remember correctly it was run by a daughter mother team that was splitting up; the daughter was going to continue doing ink and the mother was dropping her nail business.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Thanks for the update. That's really too bad that it fell through. I hope she lands on her feet somewhere.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

They planned to move to North Main, but that actually fell through after they had signed the lease and moved things in. I believe it was a family issue, although I don't have the details. That space on North Main is available now.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

It makes a lot of sense for Tricho Salon & Spa to consolidate. The first time I went there I was running late and actually went to the wrong location--- the staff told me it happened all the time. I had to rush across the mall like a madwoman. I am excited for LUSH to open. I went to one of their stores for the first time recently while in Chicago.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

I would love to see Forever 21 bring all of its product lines to Briarwood Mall. Other suggestions...bring a Hallmark store back to the mall, BCBG (instead of housing its line at Macy's), Armani Exchange, Free People, Lucky Brand, Ralph Lauren, and definitely a few options for guys from casual to dressy wear. Good luck to all the stores investing money in Ann Arbor! I can't wait to make my rounds shopping!

Dog Guy

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Ann Arbor shopping malls are increasingly Y chromosome unfriendly.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Actually they aren't. If you take a look by the major hubs, sears, macys, nordstorms and penneys, they have luxury chairs for the male who hates to shop. As for me? I leave mine at home. Makes it much nicer not hearing that thing grumble.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Not to mention unfriendly to anyone over 25.

Clinton Resident

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

I am sooooo glad that Briarwood is doing a much needed update. It has been years. I like the new stores that have come in. Briarwood's stores need to be more in-line with the stores out at Twelve Oaks. When I shop at Twelve Oaks, I see people from the area shopping there also.


Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

12 Oaks is to far to go to shop.

John Hritz

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Agreed. Briarwood is going to have to go upmarket to compete with 12 oaks and the new Arbor Woods shopping center for customers. They need stores that sell exclusive products that can't just be showroom'd and then purchased off the net. I have no idea why they can't attract sit down restaurants or why they haven't resigned themselves to a food court.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

Any information about an opening date for LUSH?

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

Early May is all I have at this point.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 10:22 a.m.

I like reading good news about our community. Good luck to all new retailers in Ann Arbor.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

"I like reading good news about our community." Man, are you in the wrong place.