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Posted on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Gas station on Ann Arbor-Saline Road wants to add drive-thru lane for Tim Hortons

By Lizzy Alfs

The owner of the revamped Shell gas station on Ann Arbor-Saline Road wants to construct a drive-thru lane to serve the attached Tim Hortons restaurant.

Abraham Ajrouch, owner of the 1.44-acre site at the corner of Eisenhower Parkway and Ann Arbor-Saline Road, said a drive-thru lane is crucial for Tim Hortons’ business.

“People just want to get their coffee and go,” he said. “I see a lot of people pull in here and look to see if there’s a drive-thru, and then they just leave. You have to have a drive-thru for a Tim Hortons.”


The owner of the Shell gas station on Ann Arbor-Saline Road wants to construct a drive-thru to serve the Tim Hortons on the north end of the site.

Lizzy Alfs |

In 2012, Ajrouch completed a renovation of the Shell gas station at 2679 Ann Arbor-Saline Road. The project, which he said totaled more than $1 million, included constructing an addition, converting a former car wash area into a retail space and reconfiguring the parking lot.

As part of the renovations, Tim Hortons signed a lease to occupy 1,100 square feet of the 4,089-square-foot gas station. Ajrouch did not construct a drive-thru at the time, because the already-approved plans did not include one.

Ajrouch said customers “love” the renovation and the Tim Hortons coffee shop, but he said he could lose Tim Hortons as a tenant if he doesn’t construct the drive-thru. He recently submitted a revised Planned Unit Development zoning and site plan to the city of Ann Arbor that would allow the construction of a drive-thru window and drive-thru lane on the north end of the site.

A portion of the site would be reconfigured to create space for the drive-thru, and Ajrouch said he would relocate an outdoor picnic area to the center of a landscape island on the property. He would move a pedestrian sidewalk further north and install signage to caution pedestrians and drivers to stop before crossing.

Eight residents attended a citizens participation meeting for the project on May 6, according to city documents.

“The citizens were generally in favor of the project/business and were particularly complimentary of the recent renovations and the addition of the Tim Hortons Restaurant,” a city report says.

Concerns included the effect a drive-thru would have on traffic, but Ajrouch said traffic counts to the station are already down since the car wash was removed. He said gas sales have also dropped significantly due to gas prices.

“I’m happy with the renovations I did. It was a huge investment and the building is beautiful now, but if I can’t get the drive-thru, then I can’t continue to have Tim Hortons,” Ajrouch said.

The plans are expected to go before the city of Ann Arbor's planning commission in July.

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



Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

He spent some money, but it was poorly planned. It's not even really a Tim Horton's, just a coffee shop. I mean they sell donuts by the dozen and half dozen, but only have racks of donuts that hold 5 at a time. And never have any in the back. They need the drive thru because they've made it hard for customers of any of their other products to buy them, so the only reason to stop is for coffee, and who wants to go in for just that? If he's putting in a drive thru he ought to pop for more counter space for food products. It is supposed to be a donut shop, isn't it?

Tim Hornton

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

I like their coffee but they have a silly name. Why not just call it Tims or just Hortons. Since I got my degree in womens studies and have now worked my way up the corporate ladder as an an assistant shift supervisor at starbucks I must admit that tim hortons has been some good competion for us. I wish we had this location for my team of coffee makers. All those people after a ball game getting on 94 would have no choice then to come in and get great quality beverage.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Do you know where the name came from ? Oh my gosh .....


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

This is a horrible intersection - can't turn out of the station onto Eisenhower to turn left - can't turn left out of station to AA Saline Rd - No forethought at all by the owner - Close it

AA Neighbor

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

This place is a neighborhood nuisance--just adds to the congestion of an under-capacity intersection in an area of high speed traffic, deplorable road surfaces, and confusing signage. There's already been one pedestrian death nearby on AA-Saline Road and absolutely no response from the City. The annoying open-air commercial broadcasts at the gas station are too loud, and the lighting has obliterated the night sky. Another building permit blunder by AA officials. We look more like Farmington HIlls every day.

Ricardo Queso

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

Agreed. You could drop this faux bakery/shell station combination on Haggerty , Northwestern Hwy or any number of Oakland County thoroughfares and it would fit right in.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

And the problem with Farmington Hills is what, exactly ? You aren't one of THOSE Boulder, CO disciples are you ???

Cheryl Hieber

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

That intersection is gridlocked several times a day already, even as far back as the exit from the Cranbrook Shopping Center, so the drive-through lane would have to enter from Eisenhower and exit onto Main Street or else the whole gas station would be gridlocked as well.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Washtenaw Dairy Doughnuts for me!


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

YES!!!! buy local or bye-bye local!


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

Seems to me that, given it is a gas station which already makes it a "drive through" enterprise, the addition of a coffee drive up won't be changing the fundamental nature of how business is transacted at that area. A drive through makes sense. As for traffic, I don't think the Tim Horton's is a major cause for congestion given the shopping malls, restaurants, expressway on/off ramps and apartments in the area. Preventing a drive through is not likely to impact that much at all.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

So you you were aware of the exit/entry restrictions and Tim Horton's requirements for a drive thru but you built it anyway. The addition of a drive thru will only add to the congestion and accident rate in this already congested area. No sympathy here, especially after decades of posting the highest gasoline prices in the area.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

I went to Tim Hortons once on Ellsworth. It is very difficult to make a left onto Ellsworth Road with the heavy traffic. Guess next time I will go right to State to Eisenhower!


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

People who try to turn left on Ellsworth from that Tim Hortons should know better. I just love when people are doing that at 5 PM

Tom Teague

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

Mr. Ajrouch did a good job with the addition, and this is now a pleasant place to fill up on both coffee and gas. It's nice to see a business owner make that level of investment and spruce up one of the entrances to the city on his own. I think he should be rewarded with the drive through. I don't know whether the sign prohibiting left turns onto AA-Saline is a sign put up by the city or the business. Either way, the city should make an effort to enforce it for a few days and try to put a stop to drivers making that turn. In the spirit of civic give back, I'd be happy to write a few snappy comebacks that the police could use when malefactors point out that they just got pulled over for an illegal exit from a coffee and doughnut shop.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

Nice comment Tom and I also wouldn't sit there if a bunch of cars were behind, but if it is all clear I am going. My IQ remark was more in line with the No turn on red signs which I also think that if it is clear you can go!


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

Yeah, I wouldn't do that if someone was waiting behind me.

Tom Teague

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, while sitting two cars back from a driver who was determined to turn left there and waited three minutes for a clear spot, I was struck not by the inconvenience of waiting, or the legality of the turn, but by the potential impact on the business: there were four cars waiting to turn right behind the left- turning car and one more in that line would have blocked access to one of the pumps. We certainly were impeding access to some parking spots. That could, on a busy day, result in revenue loss to the owner. So, maybe it doesn't have anything to do with IQ but everything to do with showing a little empathy for fellow drivers. That's a sign of Emotional Intelligence, which is an underrated quality.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

My feelings about signs like that as well as the No Right Turn on Red signs are that they are there for the poor drivers and people with a double digit IQ. I also just turn when the flow of traffic allows it. Not very difficult.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

I make that left all the time. I don't get why that sign is even there. If it's clear, I turn left - if it's crazy-busy, I don't Seems to not take any rocket science.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

It would be nice if there were an easier way to exit south on Ann Arbor/Saline Rd. The Eisenhower exit is too close to the traffic light. I thought the original plans included an exit into the Whole Foods parking lot.

Tom Teague

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

The owner said that one of the businesses in the Cranbrook center put the kibosh on plans to build the cut through. There's always W. Oakbrook Drive which can return you to South Main for easy mall entrance or protected left turn onto Eisenhower, or the earlier right turn onto Northbrook Place for another go round at the Eisenhower/ AA Saline Rd. intersection. Sometimes the traffic is so backed up turning left onto AA Saline that using Oakbrook to Northbrook is faster than trying to wedge into the left-turn lane closer to the gas station.

Cheryl Hieber

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

There would be too much traffic just driving through the Cranbrook parking area if there was an exit into that lot, making it a danger for the actual shoppers of those retail stores. Not a good idea.

Cindy O'Brien

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

Love the addition of this Tim Hortons and the one at Ellsworth/State. Would be very excited about a drive thru option! Both stores have the challenge of being at very busy intersections with heavy traffic. We actually drove past this Tim Hortons to the one at Ellsworth/State, because we didn't think we could easily go the direction we needed in the heavy traffic. We had a delightful experience at the State/Ellsworth Tim Hortons, but learned they have the same challenge with heavy traffic and difficulty with safe entry and exit into the traffic. We eventually exited into traffic going the opposite direction we were intending, and drove all the way around Briarwood Shopping Center to get back to Ellsworth and Ann Arbor Saline Road, where we were going. Overall, great store additions!

Annette Poole

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

So you wanted to stick to Ellsworth? Why didn't you just head north on State and make almost an immediate "Michigan Left" by the McDonalds? You could have been back on Ellsworth in like 30 seconds.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

I live nearby, but generally avoid this particular Tim Hortons due to the obvious traffic issues. There is a sign forbidding left turns onto southbound Ann Arbor-Saline Road. When I try to exit onto Eisenhower, the traffic is usually backed up beyond the exit and they won't let me in. I wonder how all the drive-thru traffic is going to get out of there.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

We should put a roundabout wherever there's a Tim Horton's. Problem solved!


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

might as well it is small inside. do not know why it was built without one.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 10:49 a.m.

Agree. I was surprised when I didn't find one there on my first visit.