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Posted on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Three new stores to open this fall at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

Several store closures in Ann Arbor’s Briarwood Mall are paving the way for three new stores to open this fall.


Three new stores are opening at Briarwood Mall this fall.

Angela Cesere |


Panda Express will replace the current Glitter retail store in Briarwood.

Photo from Wikipedia

Denise Murray, Briarwood's director of marketing and business development, said two retail stores and one restaurant signed leases to open in the mall: Brighton Collectibles, Sisters Arts and Gifts and Panda Express.

Brighton Collectibles, a California-based accessories manufacturer and retailer, plans to move into the 2,442-square-foot former Gymboree location by Nov. 1.

“Gymboree has relocated to the prior Build-A-Bear location in the Von Maur corridor,” Murray said, via email. Build-A-Bear closed June 10 as part of the company’s strategy to relocate, downsize and close some of its locations to increase profitability.

Launched in 1991 as a belt store, Brighton Collectibles now has more than 140 retail stores in the U.S.

A Michigan retailer, Sisters Arts and Gifts, plans to open a 893-square-foot store by Sept. 1.

The store, which has one location in the Westland Shopping Center, features mainly Michigan artists, according to its Facebook page. Inventory includes: shadow boxes, rock oil lamps, kaleidoscope art, Chloe jewelry and Michigan Metals artwork.

“Our store is a cooperative venture for artists. The store is always on the lookout for new and unique artists to join the team,” according to its Facebook.

In addition, the fast casual Asian restaurant Panda Express will take over the current Glitter retail store near JC Penney.

The restaurant, which has more than 1,321 locations in 38 states, plans to open in the 1,942-square-foot space sometime this fall.

Among the other changes at Briarwood this year: Best Buy Mobile opened a store in the former Trade Secret space; women’s boutique Francesca's Collections opened; clothing boutique Mix Laundry opened.

Murray said job postings and hiring events are listed on Briarwood Mall’s website and at the Guest Services desk in the mall’s center court.

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


Robert Granville

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Who will fill JCPenney when they close? It's inevitable.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 4:06 a.m.

Whatever it is, you can rest assured there will be many unhappy campers here on discussing it.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

How about another second-run movie theater?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Even if somerset mall where to appear overnight here in A2, you would still have 60 comments of disapproval. If its not "local" or "green" you can forget about pleasing the masses here.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 4 a.m.

See, comment wasn't "hip".


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

Hmmm.....So I guess I'm not the only person who thinks the mall is ugly.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Yawn. Another slow news day. Free advertising passing as news. 2 of 3 of these stores will be out of business within 1.5 years. Briarwood has consistently gone down hill for years...ever since Taubman sold the mall. Except for the anchor stores what else is really out there? Twelve Oaks in Novi and the better mall experience await shoppers. Fairlane is close and heck even Somerset is worth the drive instead of the junk ware stores that mainly cater to teenagers.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

on occasion, price comparison shopping is what females do.for that reason a dense area of stores,like a mall or downtown area provides that. Downtown with Klines, and a few other "real "stores was pretty decent at one time. Briarwood had decent offereings and expanded options. Now downtown shopping has become non existent,and it's a wonder that Briarwood can't keep up. It is a necessity at times to go there, but it is dreaded, also-kind of a weird situation. I look forward to visits to other places and engage in shopping at those times. Ann Arbor has good food markets.


Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

Well. If you live in a cave, you must have internet access. But. Really. There is NO reason to go from store to store to comparison shop. It can all be done online. I refuse to waste time and fuel, comparison shopping by driving to the mall or going from store to store. There are even quite a few websites, FYI, that will comparison shop FOR you. The mall concept is dead. By the way, there is a lovely home in Washtenaw County, listed at 200,000 in A2 near Pioneer. Brick exterior...2 fireplaces...4 bedrooms...if you're considering a move from that cave. I found it online.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

and perhaps the price comparing comes in handy when the new appliances,car,lawn mower get replaced. You betcha I price shop.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Female are great at comparison shopping - they each go buy ten pairs of shoes and then get together and compare their news shoes with each other.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

comparison shopping is a smart activity....why do you think stores say"we match prices"...because people[yes females-they handle a lot of household finance] look at prices. No one said that's all females do-actually I'm a professional and have worked 29 yrs of my life. ...most females do a lot of things in their life...I don't live in a cave,thanks anyway.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

REALLY?! Women don't understand how to comparison shop by computers, or other means. It's what females do?! I did not know that. So going to the Mall is necessary for females?! I haven't been to the Mall in at least 20 years. Hear that, ladies! Get to the mall! It's what we DO! live in a cave?! Talk about stereotyping.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.

Here is a fun picture of our tired old mall in its heyday.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Did Panda Express do any market research? Who will they sell their food to during the day? There are very few customers at the mall during the week. I guess they will just keep the food hot under those heat lamps waiting for customers.....


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

Ugh. Panda Express. *gagging now*


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

I think the only people who eat from restaurants in the mall is mall employees. It's a captive audience after all. I


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Briarwood mall killed downtown A2's retail when there were still department stores on Main Street. Now Briarwood mall looks like it is dying a slow death. The kiosks are a last gasp at filling in the corridors with aggressive, tacky vendors who shout as you walk by. Stores continue to close, a few more open, then close again. Not enough foot traffic out there. During the weekdays, it's dead inside and very depressing to walk around. The roads surrounding the mall are in terrible condition, with huge potholes and weeds all over the place. Very unattractive. Why would anyone go to a depressing, run down mall like Briarwood when there are so many better options for shopping in the area? They really need to get rid of those kiosks for starters.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Kiosks? Tacky vendors? Watch out for Madeleine!

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

Downtown Ann Arbor's high prices killed downtown Ann Arbor.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

I remember when this mall was the cat's pajamas and I was proud to show people the fountains. That was a long time ago. :(


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

I'm admittedly not a big shopper, but I work near Partridge Creek (, an "open-air"shopping center/mall, and have been there twice recently - even on a weekday night, it was simply teeming! The restaurants/shops are nice, with a variety of price points, and there was live music in the center. Many were carrying shopping bags, some had dogs on leashes, and quite a few people watchers enjoyed the sidelines. It might be less inviting in colder months, but mild outdoor heating is provided, and cold (or hot weather, for that matter) encourages one to go inside a store. :) I don't remember any kiosks there, and certainly no one shouting MAAM, check this out, MISS, can I show you this!!! I hate that. The same happens at Lakeside Mall, also near my work, and I avoid that place as well. Eastland Mall in Detroit started out "open-air," and was enclosed later. I think I unconsciously feel safer in open-air public environments in light of recent tragic events. Maybe it's simply a fad? Just my opinion, but I'd love to see Briarwood do something like that (maybe partially to please fans of both). At limit kiosks to a certain area so those of us who wish to store shop yet avoid harassment can do so. I also did not feel compelled to go to Briarwood after said that Sugar Gliders were being sold at one of the kiosks, it really is becoming a flea market. Get rid of the riff raff and invite the HSHV or local rescues to have a gratis space for an adoption center (! That would make animal lovers more excited to shop at Briarwood and support the mall's mission. I agree that the popular shopping venues in Ann Arbor are packed, meaning there is probably money going elsewhere that could be spent at our mall. I also prefer to support our local economy given the opportunity. Guess it is really up to Briarwood to get with the times and improve their offerings if the places w

Richard Carter

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

When I was a tiny kid, Eastland Mall was open air. Then, as you mention, they enclosed it. And -- guess what -- I'm told they're planning to make it it open air again! Wonder if that's financially feasible at Briarwood. Fort Wayne, Indiana built a new open air mall a decade or so back, and it's really pleasant to shop that way.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

I love that open mall to, but honestly in terms of a Ann Arbor mall problem, a trip out there is too far to shop. But I agree, I would love Briarwood to turn into something like that. Honestly, Ann Arbor is a decently wealthy city...I would think they should be able to gather up something to help change the mall.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

*if they wants to compete. (That is perhaps my longest comment ever. Must feel more passionate about this subject than I realized. lol :/ )


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

It seems that its not a place to say briarwood, its more like briarplastic.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

There still are malls?


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

I'm not sure what the answer truly is for Briarwood. The Mall model is a tough sell, period. How could you expand it? And even if you could... should you? Same goes for building another Mall. Even if it were approved to be built somewhere nearby - is it profitable to do so? I can see how people involved in such a decision would hesitate. But as a consumer... Briarwood is obviously disappointing. Speaking as someone who shops a lot online, and buys from local shops... I still envy other nearby areas that have nicer Malls. Sometimes, I might need something immediately for myself or my family. The options here are severely limited. Which is odd, because it does sort of seem like a "if you build it - they will spend" kinda situation around here. I can imagine quite a bit of money is leaving town simply do to a lack of shopping options, far as Mall retail goes. Seems like we need a whole new Mall. But how would you go about that? And if you do that, does Briarwood go? If it went, what happens to space? There are a lot of things to consider. But yes... Briarwood is outdated. Maybe the answer is simply more effort in updating what we have. It's a tough call. (Gotta think about community, not just what makes sense to you, ya know?)

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

I have read several less-than-flattering remarks about the kiosk businesses at Briarwood mall and would like to go on record: as I stated earlier, these kiosks are sometimes all that these vendors can afford, as space at Briarwood isn't cheap. while I agree that getting bombed with cologne is incredibly rude and/or invasive, and the people who engage in this activity should knock it off NOW, most of these kiosk vendors are just trying to earn a living and there is nothing "tacky" about this. And yes, my husband and I have a friend who will be opening up one of these kiosks in the next month or so. Yes, we believe in him. yes, we are standing by him. Yes, we're loyal friends who just want to see this person succeed at something that he's really good at. I will never apologize for this. Ever. to I am hoping that you won't delete this post, even though I am being somewhat unkind. to the nasty comments that may come my way, hey, bring it on. I'm not made of spun glass.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

What product will they be selling?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Can you tell us the name of this new business. So. We. Can. Support. It? I'm sure your endorsement would be helpful. Thanks.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

It is admirable to support your friend. That doesn't mean that the people who don't like the kiosks have no valid points to make. The kiosks wouldn't bother me so much if the people working at them weren't so intrusive. I don't want to have to say "no thank you" 20 times as I make my way to the store I am trying to get to. And it's a little too easy to say stay home if you don't like it. I don't like many of the workers at the kiosks but I like many of the stores at the mall where the employees act professionally and wait for me to come in to their store and initiate business. Can you imagine if all the store owners at Briarwood stood at the entrance to their store and called out to you? If that becomes the case then I will stay home.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

This is a horrible mall, from the bad traffic flow to the crappy pavement to the mixture of stores. Even the chains give us dummies up versions of themselves. It is sad in there. And for responses to the effect of "don't go there," those of us complaining don't. And we are simply voicing a further opinion. Oh, and responses with words separated by periods are very 1990's.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

Briarwood was cool in the 80's but it's 2012 now


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Yes, I remember when it opened, many people said "Ah, this is what Ann Arbor needs" but that is SO yesterday. I can't really cry to see malls go---they're in trouble everywhere.

sun runner

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I *had* to go to the mall recently. I was reminded again why I try to avoid the mall at all costs. The annoying, pushy kiosk vendors, the way a certain stretch of corridor smells like someone dropped a cologne bomb, the teenagers walking slowly while five across...that's it for my mall visits this year.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Once the dollar theater closed, we no longer had a reason to go to Briarwood. I wish another inexpensive theater would open up there.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

I really miss having a movie theater. I also really wish there was still a small bar. But maybe that's just nostalgia... because JB Pub really helped during the holidays, before online shopping! :-)


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

I like Briarwood Mall, its a great place to walk around during the long winter days when it is too cold outside to walk. I was surprise to see so many comments about the Kiosk workers? I guess its hard to be Progressive when you see the results in action!

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

Don't like the comments about tacky kiosks? Stay away!


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

I'd rather the aggressive kiosk salespeople peddling their tacky wares and people who think they are so baaaad in 'letting someone have it" on an internet posting stay away.

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

yeah xmo, I just let someone have it because he was dissing these kiosks. those remarks are directed at anyone and everyone who doesn't like them. don't like it? stay away!

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Tacky iPhone covers are "progressive"?

4 Fingers

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Ahh yes, Briarwood Mall. Ann Arbor's answer to Gibraltar Trade Center.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

This mall is dead. Quite unpleasant to walk thru. Used to busy and bustling. Even Macy's needs some kind of a lift

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

Borthwick....If everybody who doesn't like the atmosphere at Briarwood doesn't. walk. through. it., there will be no mall and no kiosk business either. These people are simply pointing out deficiencies in a perhaps dying enterprise that they would like to see revived and brought into this century. It doesn't have to be a junky, trashy, smelly, our-of-date, flea market kind of place. I would like it back, too. I don't go there, and it sounds like a lot of others who used to go there don't go there anymore, either. Why is in not allowed in regard to an article like this to suggest ways in which the place could be brought up to some kind of decent standard so that it might survive?

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

then. don't. walk. through. it.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Under your first photograph, you have "Four new stores are opening at Briarwood Mall this fall." Your URL is . And yet your headline and the story itself only has three new stores.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Thanks. The URL is because I was originally told there will be four new stores, but the mall's PR then changed it to three because one of the deals isn't finalized yet.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Isn't the mall -- as a model for the way we do retail shopping -- dead yet?


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

One can only hope.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Somerset Collection and Twelve Oaks would suggest not. When a Mall is maintained, including parking lots and service drives, and decent restaurants are included inside the Mall (including dine-in options like Red Robin, Ruby Tuesdays, TGI Fridays, etc.), shopping becomes more attractive. Briarwood is outdated, the dining options are minimal, the parking and service drives are horrendous, and so the crowds are smaller than the more attractive options like Somerset and Twelve Oaks.

Mike D.

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Tschoke vendors are moving from the shanty kiosks into the store spaces as high-end retailers abandon ship. And Panda Express? Bubbling vats of grease and MSG. Putrid.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

And the come and they go! I seldom go to the mall any more. Nothing there I need. Last time I was in Sears there were no customers! Empty. Wonder how they can afford to stay in business?


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

I've had the same experience in the Southwest. Sears doesn't even have parts for its Kenmore vacuum cleaners. I had to order the part online. Down here they seem dead also. I was recalling the Briarwood one and thinking how much better YOU guys and gals had it! Oh, well!

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

My last experience with Sears was that they did not have a Diehard battery for my very common American car, and they wouldn't be able to get one for five days. Haven't been there since, and that was the only reason I ever went to the mall.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Great! Now maybe they can afford to paint lines on the north parking lot!


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

... so that people can straddle them?

lindsay erin

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Is the north lot the one in front of Chipotle? It's terrible. Painting lines in that lot should be a priority.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

They could start by getting rid of the junk kiosk businesses. Tacky.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 5:23 a.m.

Some of the kiosks are good businesses. It is the ones that harass people that deter shoppers. I think the mall should police that behavior. Otherwise, they are fine. Get rid of the junk ones.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

And people complain about aggressive panhandlers.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Madeleine, it's tacky. Knowing somebody who's doing it doesn't change that. OK, so it's how he makes his living. He makes a living in a tacky way.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

If you look on Briarwood's online directory map they only show a few kiosks by name. My two favorites: "A Clean Cigarette" "Piercing Pagoda" T-a-c-k-y

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Brad, before you start dissing kiosk businesses, first know that they are sometimes all that these vendors can afford. space at B'wood mall isn't cheap. furthermore, a good friend of ours will be opening a kiosk business there in the next month or so. it's a way for him to earn a living. it's not "tacky" to do this. if you don't like the way Briarwood conducts its business, I have a simple solution for you. Don't Go There. Yeah, we believe in sticking by our friends. don't like it? too bad!!


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

They're more than tacky - I hate how the people working them are constantly shouting out at people who pass. It's disgusting and I've stopped going there because of it.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

They also need to stop two particular stores from spraying their stench perfume into the general walkway... And they're almost directly across from each other so it's very hard to avoid.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

I think the kiosks are some sort of social program to provide at least one place that will hire people who have turned themselves into human pincushions.

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

I don't know how those things stay in business...I never see anyone buying the cell phone cases, remote control helicopters, electronic cigarettes, etc.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

I totally agree. I wish it were half as nice as the one in Traverse City.

Robert Granville

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Hopefully Panda Express puts the other chinese food restaurant in the mall out of business... if it's even still there. I don't like their food much but at least they have some semblance of customer service.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 10:21 a.m.

We travel a lot. Compared to other malls, Briarwood Mall really needs a face lift.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.