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Posted on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Lululemon athletica to open store on Ann Arbor's Washtenaw Avenue

By Lizzy Alfs


A lululemon athletica store in Washington D.C. The yoga-inspired clothing company is opening its first full-scale Ann Arbor store this year.

Photo by Elvert Barnes

Yoga-inspired clothing store lululemon athletica plans to close its downtown Ann Arbor showroom and open a full-scale store on Washtenaw Avenue this year.

The location: the under-construction Arbor Hills shopping center between Platt Road and Huron Parkway.

“It just makes a lot of sense for us to be out there as part of the (corridor’s) growth,” said Nina Gardner, a community relations representative for lululemon.

Founded in Canada in 1998, there are now more than 200 lululemon locations worldwide, with the majority of its growth based in the United States. There is one store in Birmingham, Mich., one in Troy, and a showroom in Grand Rapids.


A portion of the under-construction Arbor Hills shopping center, which is slated to open in August.

Melanie Maxwell |

The stores sell technical athletic apparel and are meant to act as “community hubs,” offering complimentary fitness classes and hosting other events.

In 2010, lululemon opened a showroom in downtown Ann Arbor in a small, tucked away third-level space on East William Street. According to the company’s website, showrooms are a “cozier version” of larger stores, with limited hours and less inventory.

Gardner said the Ann Arbor showroom will close a few weeks before the Washtenaw Avenue store opens late this summer.

“The showroom concept is so cool because it really allows us to get in communities,” Gardner said.

“Downtown Ann Arbor is obviously the heartbeat of that community, but as Ann Arbor grows and the other area on Washtenaw grows, it just really is going to allow us to have access to different parts of the community,” she continued.

She said the store will be open seven days a week and it will offer free fitness classes. The lululemon store in Birmingham hosts a run club, and Gardner said the company will determine what Ann Arborites want to see in their community.

“It’s really about seeing what the needs of the community are and supporting it,” she said.

She said the company plans to hire additional employees to staff the new store.

Lululemon will join more than 20 other tenants at the 100,000-square-foot Arbor Hills when it opens in August. Pizzeria Biga, Cafe Zola and women’s boutique Hot Mama are among the tenants planning to open in the center.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) was valued at about $9.63 billion based on a Monday stock price of $66.68.

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



Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

That's just sheer madness. Butt I guess I see through your desire for fancy pants. Oh we'll, enough cracks for now.

Brian Hill

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Sounds like they carry some interesting products.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

The founder of this company has gone on record condoning, and even encouraging, child labor in the production of his overpriced clothing. The question is: will Ann Arbor residents and U-M students even care, or is child labor protesting just lip service used in resolutions and press statements?


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

"It just makes a lot of sense for us to be out there as part of the (corridor's) growth,"... Too bad the corridor itself can't grow. Traffic volumes at that point already make Washtenaw Avenue extremely dysfunctional. The addition of 20 more retailers should just about kill it.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

The whole premise of this company's business is that if you build up the name to the point that people think it's really hip, trendy, and/or status-affirming, those people will pay grossly inflated prices for your very average product. In other words ... perfect for Ann Arbor. It should surprise no one that the founder is a disciple of Ayn Rand.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Athletic apparel maker Lululemon Athletica will be hurt by a large recall of black yoga pants that were unintentionally see-through.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

So not only are we going to see people wearing spandex that shouldn't be, we'll also be able to see through it? Swell.

Ryan Daly

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 4:47 a.m.

If they don't go bankrupt first...

say it plain

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 10:11 a.m.

omg that's too funny... can't wait til the 'too thin yoga pants *thing*' hits our area lol...


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

Woot woot! Expensive, but good for occasional splurges!


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

I never found their workout apparel particularly appealing or functional, and it is certainly way overpriced. But if that's what floats your boat, who am I to judge...


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

Great quality goods, albeit pricey.


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

Could not agree more. There is Forever 21 and Aeropostle sells this stuff at the half price. If I was a millionaire? Then maybe. But for now? I love Aeropostle.


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Fantastic news! More upscale shopping is needed in Ann Arbor.


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

The founder of this company sounds like a real piece of work. He can keep his Ayn Rand and I'll spend my money elsewhere.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:03 a.m.

here here I'm with you


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

Tucked away on East William is right, I didn't know they've been in town since 2010! Cool, now they'll be located across the street from the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center (WCPARC).

say it plain

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

When you consider that they basically sell hundred-dollar yoga pants, you can see why they'd want to be sure they have the kind of clientele dedicated enough to "seek them out" ;-) I say, meh, don't think so... But apparently some women believe their hype about how fab their bums look in the sticky spandex purveyed by lululemon, so, perhaps, if they open and sponsor 'free' posing lessons, some will come!


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

Lizzy, I'm no marketing genius, but that quote seems to me to reflect one of the most stupid marketing philosophies I have ever encountered.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

They have a really tiny sign! (on purpose) Here is a quote from when I wrote the story in 2010: "Showrooms are usually hidden because we want people to take the time to find us and show us they want a store here."


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

One short drive from campus, on giant leap for white girls college-wide...


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

There are not 2 stores in Birmingham. One is in Troy at Somerset.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Good point. And both right down the street from where I grew up!


Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

The downtown Ann Arbor location also hosts a running club.


Tue, Mar 19, 2013 : 3:54 a.m.

Yes, they meet at the downtown store. I was just commenting on the fact that the community relations representative says that the Birmingham store hosts a run club and they will wait to see what Ann Arborites want when it is already being done!

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

@LauraM: Not sure if that one will continue with the same meeting place and everything once the store opens (I assume you meet downtown?). I can check.