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Posted on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Long-vacant commercial space on Washtenaw Avenue in Ypsilanti to be renovated

By Tom Perkins

An Ypsilanti landlord is hoping to breathe new life into the former Sunshine Grocery on Washtenaw Avenue. The building has sat vacant for around two years.

Site plans to renovate the space at 1510 Washtenaw Ave. were unanimously approved by the Ypsilanti Planning Commission at its June 26 meeting.


1510 Washtenaw Avenue

Courtney Sacco |

City Planner Teresa Gillotti said the owner, Said Issa, likely will begin renovations in the next several months.

Issa told the planning commission that he plans to parcel the 6,000-square-foot building into four units and is in talks with a proprietor of a Biggby Coffee franchise, though nothing has been confirmed. No other tenants were mentioned at the meeting, and Issa could not be reached for comment.

The property has a taxable value of $224,000 and is zoned B1, neighborhood business, meaning that tenants must cater to the surrounding neighborhood.

"We're excited, we think this is a good project and we're looking forward to seeing improvements to the building and having new tenants in the near future," Gillotti said.

The building was built in 1962 by Richardson’s Pharmacy and an addition nearly doubled its size since then. Prior to Sunshine Grocery, a dollar store operated out of the location.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at


Michael Bodary

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

Worked at Richardson's at different times from '66 through 71. There was one in downtown and Belleville, could have been a Canton store too.. It was a good neighborhood pharmacy.

Ann English

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

I was hoping that it was the six-year-vacant Farmer Jack building that found someone who wanted it.

Ann English

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Wasn't there a Dixie Shoppe in that area that burned during the 1980s? I forget where I've seen Richardson's in the sixties, but do remember seeing one in Canton, off Ford Road, just west of Lilley Road, as late as 2007.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

yes...Richardsons is still open in Canton....


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

To the best of my knowledge, Richardson's in Canton is still in business.

Speedy Squirrel

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

The zoning law says that you have to cater to me Issa. Panera Bread! Panera Bread! P.S. Don't jack up the rent on them when they start doing well either!

Jay Thomas

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

The last empty building like this in Ypsi was also bought by one of the Issa clan.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

Top headline news story of the day, huh?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:34 a.m.

would you rather hear of someone getting shot? or a business that has to close down?

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Mostly correct tdw, although some stories take more time than others. We are admittedly a bit light staffing wise today due to yesterday's holiday which is probably the same for anyone else who is at work right now.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Not sure if you've noticed but they seem to post stories as they get them.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

Do you have a better one?


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

It would be a great location for a Chipotle, as I would eat there multiple times a week.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Until the economic recovery trickles down to Washtenaw Ave., maybe a dime store is better than a dollar store.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

I'm glad to see they are considering something other than a Dollar Store. The area has a lot of potential, and could use businesses that will help it grow!


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

Okay, I'll it 1510 Washtenaw, as the article implies, or is it 1015, as the cutline indicates? I used to patronize Richardson's Pharmacy as an EMU student living just west of there. The Big Top Party Store was across the street diagonally.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

I was 9-13 years old at the time. Born in 1952 but I can't say I remember the year of the fire except early to mid 60's.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Well, Craig I won't argue with you on that.I couldn't have been much over 5 at the time of the fire

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

My memory is that Big George replaced Hessenours.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

If I recall correctly that was Big George's.I barely remember the fire ( we watched it to ) but I do remember because a close family friend was a fireman and we were watching him

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

I used to buy plastic models to build at the Big Top. My first slap of life's reality was when they started making me buy a model to get a tube of glue. When your a kid who just wants to finish his B-17 and your cash flow issues don't allow for an Old Ironsides just to get the glue you need its disheartening. On the northeast corner used to be an appliance store called Hessenours (or something like that) that burned down in the mid 60's. I remember my mom and brother going up the street to watch the fire. I grew up on Mansfield across from Witmire.


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

I get a daily reminder every morning when I look in the mirror, tdw. I'd forgotten about Big George's, right across Mansfield. They say memory is the second thing to go.................I forget the first!


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

According to google maps it's 1510.You must be kinda old if you remember Big Top :) ( like I do )Big George's used to be over there too