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Posted on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

Longtime EMU campus-area businesses Theo's and Ted's Campus Store listed for sale in Ypsilanti

By Paula Gardner

theos 1.jpg

George Tangalakis, co-owner of Theo Door's Inc. bar on West Cross Street, is looking for new owners to take over his family businesses adjacent to the Eastern Michigan University campus.

Melanie Maxwell |

Generations of Eastern Michigan University students made Theo Doors Inc. the longest-lasting campus-area bar in Ypsilanti.

Nearby on West Cross Street, Ted’s Campus Store served those same students over the years, first as a pharmacy and more recently as a convenience store.

Now, both properties - along with seven efficiency apartments above the store - have been listed for sale by the owners, a longtime Ann Arbor family.

The properties, said listing agent Tony Caprarese, are as close as you can get to the EMU campus.

That proximity has been part of the success of both businesses, in particular the bar known by its nickname, Theo’s.

“That bar has so much EMU tradition,” Caprarese said. “It’s the oldest … operating college area bar that remains in Ypsilanti.”

The bar is located just east of Ted’s Campus Store, a grouping of three separate storefronts at the corner of West Cross and Normal Street.

It was a big decision for the family to decide to sell, Caprarese said.

George Tangalakis agreed. He operated the bar since 1980 in partnership with Cerene Tangalakis, his sister, and his father has owned Ted’s Campus Drugs for decades.

Ted Tangalakis retired recently after 65 years at 94, the oldest registered pharmacist in Michigan.

Now, George Tangalakis said, the sale of the campus-area properties will free him up to spend more time taking care of his parents.

Tangalakis, who works at the bar six days a week, describes owning a bar as “a younger man’s business.”

He’s led the property through what he calls several minor metamorphoses, most recently investing in kitchen upgrades that restored it into more of a bar-grill operation than a pure nightclub.

“Three years ago this summer we replaced the furnishings, floors, ceilings, walls - we gutted the operation and restarted the kitchen after a seven-year hiatus,” he said.

The bar, at 3,814 square feet, is listed for $515,190. The store, with the efficiency apartments, is listed for $460,231.

The listings of the Tangalakis property are the latest among several other landmark commercial properties in the city that are seeking or recently found new buyers. Among them: the Materials Unlimited building, the former Mellencamp’s store and the former TC’s Speakeasy on Michigan Avenue downtown and four adjacent storefronts in Depot Town.

At the same time, the Tangalakis properties come onto the market as city and Washtenaw County leaders are prioritizing improvements along West Cross Street. About $700,000 in streetscape improvements are planned, and a traffic study could result in two-way traffic returning to the street.

Yet the timing of a real estate sale sets some limits on new buyers, due to the shortage of financing available. Some owner-occupants are finding success with federal Small Business Administration loans, Caprarese said.

Because the properties are debt-free, seller financing may be an option, he added.

Caprarese said he’s marketing the properties as two separate opportunities.

Several calls have come in on the convenience store, he said.

And the bar also is attracting interest, he said.

“The most ideal scenario would be for a younger owner-operator … to come in and take those businesses over,” Tangalakis said, “so they continue to contribute to the campus area.”


douglas shirk

Sun, Aug 29, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

Good gawd. I swear I lived at Campus Drugs in the early 70's. Those booths were so scarred up you couldn't do homework on them. But if Ted's was the perfect place, Ted was the perfect guy to run it. Went back 25 years later and walked into the place. Was sad I couldn't get a cup of coffee, but it didn't matter much when Ted remembered me. As to Theo's, it's in the old Hungry Charlie's location, isn't it? Sorry to see that the place is up for sale. I hope any new owner respects the history of the greatest campus hangout ever.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

I really hope someone snatches up that property. There are too many empty storefronts around here. :(

Anna Fuqua-Smith

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:46 p.m.

I've spent so many nights at Theo's.. so much tradition has been developed there. I always loved coming into either Ted's or Theo's to talk with Cerene or Geo.. :D The Tangalakis family is such a great family to be connected with. The family was always an avid supporter of my sorority, Sigma Nu Phi. I am one of Cerene's girls and will forever miss these places when they finally close. Love in SNP, Anna Fuqua-Smith Intern


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

I spent my Monday nights there during my undergraduate degree. I am one of Cerene's girls, and I am sorry to see it go. It was a great experience for me being at Ted's and Theo's, it was my home away from home! Thank you Cerene for making my college years the time of my life! I appreciate it, you have a heart of gold and I love your family. Love in SNP, RF


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 11:19 a.m.

I used to work for this family, live in one of their apartments and had many, many fun nights at Theos. I wish them all the best.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

Came to EMU in 1969 and had many a meal at the Ted's counter. Ted always showed interest in me and later in my family. I would bring my young boys into get a pop and visit with Ted on Saturdays. Thanks for the memories and good fortune in the sale.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

Had my first "legal" beer at Theo's. George and Cerene (the whole family for that matter) are great people and it will be sad to see them move on.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

I have great memories and great times at Theos in the late eighties and early nineties. Owners are terrific, Cerene was and still is a great supporter of my soriety Sigma Nu Phi. Sad to see them go. I wish them all the best.


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Ted's and those apartments are a cornerstone of Eastern Michigan and the lifestyle surrounding it. I remember walking into Ted's in 1966 as a freshman and meeting Ted. He was a great old fellow, even back then. In the summer of 1969, I worked as a UofM janitor and got caught in the street riot as I was leaving work. A couple who lived in those apartments above Ted's gave me a ride to Ypsi and invited me in for some food. I ate steamed vegetables and listened to Led Zeppelin for the first time. I enjoyed the music much more than the food. In summer of 1970, as I finished up school, I would sit in those wooden booths at Ted's, have a caramel sundae and talk with Ted. Thank you Ted and the whole Tangalakis family for being such an important part of the Ypsilanti culture. I hope the next owner(s) will continue the tradition.