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Posted on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Organic Bliss to close, blaming downtown Ann Arbor's 'independent retail environment'

By Nathan Bomey

Downtown Ann Arbor shop Organic Bliss plans to close its physical store in February, the owner announced in an email to customers.


Organic Bliss on East Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor plans to close in February.

The 1,000-square-foot East Liberty Street store — which sold a variety of organic and environmentally friendly items like skin care products, candles and clothes — was originally located below Afternoon Delight on the corner of Fifth Avenue before moving westward to a street-level shop between Fourth Avenue and Main Street.

Owner Melissa Bryant said the shop — which is located between the nonprofit 826michigan and the controversial new Bongs & Thongs shop — would close in mid-February. After that, she plans to continue selling some products on the store's website.

"Given the current economic conditions and more so the independent retail environment downtown, it has become impossible for me to grow Organic Bliss into the vision I have for it," Bryant wrote in a letter to customers. "As hard of a decision as it has been to come to, I believe it to be the right one at this time."

Bryant, in an email, told that she's noticed a "significant drop in foot traffic downtown, specifically shoppers," since opening in 2008.

She also suggested that the public's negative perception of parking in downtown Ann Arbor continues to harm businesses.

"Parking can pretty much always be found at the meters and structures so it shouldn’t be as much of an issue as it is, but I feel the city/DDA gives its residents zero incentive to shop with downtown merchants by continuing to make it more expensive, and planning to increase the enforcement hours," she said in an email. "Numerous merchants have spoken out about this and they are not listening." The store today launched a sale of 50 percent off all inventory.

Bryant, who launched online sales in fall 2009, had previously lamented the rising influence of big Internet competitors.

“I think I can compete with them, but not if you’re strictly looking online comparing apples to apples,” Bryant told in 2009. “If people are really price sensitive, if they’re doing a price comparison, that might hurt in that instance.”

The store's demise marks the latest in a string of closings for East Liberty Street businesses. Over the last several months, several stores have closed or announced plans to shut down, including fashion shop Poshh, shoe store Sole Sisters, candy shop This & That and restaurant Champion House.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Paul Hickman

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

This is why Cash Mobs such as the Ann Arbor Cash Mob are taking off around the country to help support and promote the unique locally owned &amp; independently operated store fronts and watering holes. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>!/groups/annarborcashmob/

Donna Huber

Wed, Feb 8, 2012 : 5:27 a.m.

I am astounded at the vitriol being spewed in the comment section of this article. I find it hard to believe that the negative "opinions" are actually coming from people born and raised in A2 or even in Michigan. Given the economic climate in the US and particularly in the state of Michigan we should ALL be coming together in support of small, local businesses whether the goods sold within are our cup of tea or not. I have done business with Ms. Bryant/Organic Bliss and I must say,my experience does not reflect the tone of this article nor the comments that follow. Why such negativity? It's like I'm reading something spun straight from Corporate Media or Reality TV. Opinions are one thing, attacks on a persons character are quite another.Why such celebration of a small business owner having to close her doors? Melissa was my go to person while trying to help my own clientele eat, drink and use products that aren't going to affect our fertility in later years or worse yet cause cancer. I happen to know that she spent YEARS researching and learning the impact of our environment on humans and that she has a great passion for wellness, sustainability, green, and local. I for one am so grateful for her hard work and perseverance and downtown Ann Arbor will now be missing one of their brightest lights. For those of you making flippant and clearly uninformed and uneducated comments, it is my hope that you someday see the error of your ways. I happen to know that Melissa poured every ounce of her heart and soul into Organic Bliss in an effort to make a positive impact on her community and thus our world and it hurts my heart that she has to read these hateful words. Melissa, I wish you all the best in your new endeavors and look forward to the Phoenix that is sure to arise from these ashes. And remember what the great Albert Einstein said, "Great Spirits Have Always Encountered Violent Opposition From Mediocre Minds"

Robert Hughes

Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

So sorry to see this store go. It was a lovely and friendly place to visit. Hope that there are more like it to take up the slack.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Brick and Mortar speciality stores are too difficult to operate and to monetize given the sheer real estate overhead. It would have beenetter for them to remain online only.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Maybe if the owner had a more consistent inventory, the store would still be in business. I stopped going there when I was unable to find products I liked from previous visits. Ms Bryant's response was &quot;I like to change things&quot;. I changed too and stopped shopping there. It's always sad to see a business fail, but I have to say I'm not surprised.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

The negativity here is astounding. And here I thought that the buy local mindset was really sticking. Maybe it's the reporter's branding of this story with inflammatory language like &quot;blaming&quot; that triggered so many. Certainly triggered the ignorance to come barreling out. What I want to share here is that, despite what our individual consumer habits are, here is the spirit of small business hurting. And here is a shop owner who was relying on her community to support her vision. We failed to do so, and it's a shame. I have a degree in Natural Resources and am also a massage therapist. I have knowledge of the body, health, toxins that are in almost everything you buy and put on your skin, and toxins that are in the environment as a result of our poor consumer choices. Bottom line: there is a need for this kind of business and it wasn't supported in our community. To me, that is sad because it reflects the fact that not enough people are waking up to making better, sounder, healthier choices for themselves, their families, and their environment. If you really knew what you were looking at in that store, you would know it really was an impressive selection of high quality goods. I shopped there, and believed in their products because it was clear to me they were really the best you could find--and many of them local! That is worth a lot to me. To shop with a conscience. Melissa was always warm, knowledgeable, and helpful, without ever pushing me to buy anything. It was about finding what I needed and what worked for me, and I knew everything in that store was 100% organic. That was true service--to the consumer, the community, and to the environment. It's a shame there isn't more thanks, applause, and support given to the owner for taking a risk and sharing such a positive product line. After all, how many of us have put ourselves out there to do something like this--sharing something good for everyone, including the earth?


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

I for one LOVE the 'independent retail environment' and have frequented many of the shops in downtown AA often, especially at least once a week to eat in downtown as well. I have been to all of the stores that are mentioned in this article and others that have closed over the years. Organic Bliss was a beautiful store on the inside, and I really wanted to support them, however they didn't really sell anything I wanted at a reasonable price range. Like others who've commented, I did not get approached by anyone either to enlighten me on the products in the store. I do hope that other prospective businesses are not discouraged from coming in to the downtown area. I don't particularly want to see a chain store, or another restaurant take up the space. Parking is difficult and can be expensive, however, it hasn't stopped me from going downtown. Btw, the Made in Michigan store used to be located in downtown AA, before moving to Ypsilanti :-) Hope they are doing well there! Maybe you can come back this way in another location! Best of luck to all the existing businesses...I plan on continuing to support you!

Lets Get Real

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Shop closings always have multiple factors connected to the closing: From the comments, here are some I see: * She relocated from another known location - did that hurt or help? * She was less than welcoming (according to one report here) - the business of a profitable business is measured by the relationships it creates with its customers. * She didn't have products people wanted - knowing the customer is critical to success: who they are, how much moeny they make, their gender, their reason for buying the product or service being sold, their buying habits (how much, how often, etc.) * She was very small (1,000 sq ft) - did she have adequate stock of the prducts people wanted to buy? * She was expensive (accounts here shared the price of an item) - offering products or services at a price people feel is fair based on the value received is an important piece of the pricing strategy. * Foot traffic is rnoticably reduced - if so, &amp; if she is dependent on foot traffic, did she research the pedestrian traffic with SEMCOG or the city before selecting her location(s)? * Was her marketing strategy condusive to her customer? Offering discounts or value added offers to downtown workers, sponsoring events, reaching out to the target market through networking, using integrated digital methods, alligning with strategic partners,etc. * Did people know her brand &amp; what it promises? Did she? * Did she research the competition to see who else, within walking distance, sells similar or identical products? She says &quot;nothing like it&quot;. I don't know the products specifically, but from the feedback it included organic body care products. I can think of Bellanina, Douglas J, Kerrytown shops, &amp; O'Hair (who moved at Thanksgiving to the Whole Foods plaza for parking &amp; high rent reasons), sell similar products &amp; have loyal followings. Gaining market share is an exercise in relationship building and creative marketing. Parking downtown? Yes, but not the si


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

If you look at downtown Ann Arbor from the perspective of someone who's never been there and doesn't know anything about it, it's not a very inviting or friendly place to attempt to navigate. The &quot;attitude,&quot; for lack of a better word, of the downtown area as a whole comes off as something along the lines of &quot;you're lucky we're here, and we don't much care about making anything easy for you.&quot; The layout of the main shopping areas, the location of the parking structures, the rules about meters and their enforcement...where does the never-ever find this info quickly and easily? If people who've never been there think it's too much of an ordeal to attempt, and people who live and/or work there, who actually know what's going on, go other places to avoid the cost/hassle etc., who is left?


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

by that headline the writer apparently missed journalism class the day they taught objectivity .


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

I think its a great shop .....sadly most people would rather support china and shop at walmart


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Most Friendly and Knowledgable Retailer I've seen in 35 years of shopping downtown ... not a single gift I bought from there ever had to be returned.....sad to see this news ...


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

I shop downtown regularly. I have heard of all these stores that are closing but I have shopped at none of them because they sell nothing I want.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

The high cost of parking and the freedom that the beggars have to pester you every turn has kept us from going downtown for shopping and dining. Our city leaders do not have a clue. They might wake up when all that is left is art, beggars and empty stores.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 6:50 a.m.

Excuses excuses. My wife and I met the owner one time and she had her nose so high in the air we couldn't stand to set foot in her store. If people can't adapt to what the customers want then they will fail. Bivouac is a great example...matching the internet prices, good sales staff, and stuff people want/need. While I hate to see independent businesses fail, this one had the writing all over it from the beginning. Lily Grace on Main St. has much nicer stuff.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

sounds like youre the hubby of lily grace giving location and all


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

I think your talking about Perpetua


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

Wow, this is shocking to read. I have always had the exact opposite experience. I found the owner to be warm and friendly and always helpful. I loved the wonderful products and they were so reasonably priced for high quality. To each his own I guess, but I find this so hard to believe given the number of pleasurable experiences I have had there.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

Restaurants with their huge profit margins and national chains are all that can survive in an environment like downtown AA, with it's high parking rates, limited parking options and predominately student clientele. It is not a diverse shopping area. Rents are too high for small independent businesses to survive for very long. There is a lack of foot traffic due to the grim parking situation, and far too many bars and restaurants line the streets looking to cash in on the student population. If you look at the downtowns in other college towns (Ithaca, NY, Lawrence, KS, and Madison, WI, for example), you will find much more diversity in the commercial areas. Lawrence actually has a thriving department store! And parking is much more available. I have visited all of them. A2's downtown used to be much better even 15 years ago, with more long-time local stores, pharmacies, restaurants that weren't &quot;upscale&quot;, and a much broader range of retail. But, greed took over, and landlords raised the rents to the sky, and only restaurants, bars and chains can survive in that environment with their high profit margins. All of the funky fun places have gone out of business along with anything resembling a department store. Downtown A2 used to be a fun place to visit and shop.

Angry Moderate

Tue, Oct 2, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Huh? Restaurants have tiny profit margins. Food service is a highly competitive market.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.

&quot;noticed a &quot;significant drop in foot traffic downtown, specifically shoppers,&quot; since opening in 2008.&quot; Is that true? I would not know myself. But it does sound like a convenient excuse. Obviously she was either not selling what people wanted or was selling it for too high a price.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

So sad to see her go.... There was nothing else like it downtown. Best of luck to you Melissa, you will be missed.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

I am surprised at so many negative comments, both towards the store and downtown retail in general. This was a great store, with HIGH QUALITY items. The difference between buying similar items online is that you have a nice knowledgeable person to talk to about the product and who could offer you ideas and help. THAT is what is important about keeping independent retailers in a viable downtown. We need MORE stores like this, not less. I shopped here regularily, not every week, maybe not every month even, but often. And it was a wonderful place for presents! Have you any idea how warm and soft bamboo scarves and socks are? And the softness of their clothes is incredible. Organic items are becoming m ore important, not less. All you haters: the loss of missing out on a great store and a lovely owner is yours. I feel sorry for you. the joy of going to our still vibrant downtown is the discovery of new stores! Get out and discover our town. What other gems are you missing? What other stores may go out of business because people are too lazy to walk one block from where they park their car and discover something new?

Kristin MIchelson

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

Many of you make it seem like you are waiting for a personal invitation to check out a new store. I myself received multiple e-mails and word of mouth advertising about this shop. How much can we actually expect a small retail store to market in mainstream media? It is not like Kohls or Old Navy that are flooding our mailbox with flyers (those companies have an extensive marketing budget). If you are a target customer and are interested in shopping local, seems to me buyers are well versed in how to find what they need. Strange how there have been multiple positive news articles and advertisements about the store for the past few years, but what makes headlines and what grabs your attention is the news about closing.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

Agree with Johnny. I only stumbled upon it accidently and due to rude customer service (after waiting for person to finish their personal phone call) left and never thought twice about the store again. I find much better service at the little store on Zeeb.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

I disagree LA. I am her EXACT target market. I NEVER once heard what the store was about and what it had to offer. It is not my job to search out her business. It is hers as a shop owner to search me out as a customer. I can find all the things you said elsewhere. What did she really do to market this business?


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

&quot;I am surprised at so many negative comments, both towards the store and downtown retail in general. &quot; 100% agree. You state it better than I. I tend to have a troll in me that comes out when I read ignorance.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

I shop locally and organic whenever possible. While parking is an issue I truly think that in this case poor taste and even worse merchandising were the culprits. This seems to be an issue with many downtown retailers. Unwillingness to offer quality and even bigger unwillingness to update their premises to suit the expectations of today's consumers. How many shops in the downtown area look like gray outdated throwbacks to the 80s? Sorry. If you want my money get with the program and offer me some quality, some eye candy and some really good service.

Kristin MIchelson

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

not to mention a wonderful aroma that everyone commented on when i was in the store!


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

What???? You must be talking about a different shop. Organic Bliss was beautiful. Light and cherry with lovely displays and great products!


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

&quot;Unwillingness to offer quality and even bigger unwillingness to update their premises to suit the expectations of today's consumers. How many shops in the downtown area look like gray outdated throwbacks to the 80s?&quot; This really doesn't sound like Organic Bliss. It even says in the article that the owner even moved to update her space. And shopping organic is always possible, it's just a choice you have to make.

Kristin MIchelson

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

It is clear the writer has set the tone for this chain of feedback by his title alone. Organic Bliss is not blaming anyone for the decision to close. We are talking about a business that was able to grow and expand during a very difficult time in this economy that now has made a very difficult decision to close the doors despite hope for the future. If any of you have ever actually been in the store, you might know about a wide range of products (yes granted perhaps in a niche market) carefully researched by the owner to truly offer an organic option locally. There are several products on the market that claim to be organic and natural and tons of people purchase them believing just that. What was promising about Organic Bliss was the owners knowledge of each product and her effort and dedication to providing truly healthy products, many of which were local to Michigan. The decision to close could not have been easy. Some of these comments are just ignorance speaking. This is an example of the phrase buy local or bye bye local. Sad to see this great shop go, but I am grateful for all the knowledge I have gained and the great products and gifts that I have purchased.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

It's obvious the writer is taking quotes out of context. It's an easy way to evoke emotions about a topic that the readers know nothing about. If you got the e-mail, you'd know that the blaming tone the writer creates is false. No worries, though... Newspapers aren't doing the best these days either...

Lou Perry

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Keep raising parking rates, expand hours to pay and kill the Golden Goose.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

I have patronized Organic Bliss in the past. The reason I stopped going there is poor customer service. The last time I went there, I was in an empty store for 10 minutes without being acknowledged by the woman behind the counter whom was on the phone. I left and never went back.


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 8:52 a.m.

I support local businesses in both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I also work at an independent business downtown Ann Arbor. I was dissapointed by the poor service I received as I am vegan and they carried products I like and the prices weren't bad. So guess what, my feedback is valid. Even though I don't live within Ann Arbor's city limits. Don't be ignorant.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

I think you were in that other shop called perpetua


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

This is so strange to hear! The customer service was always above and beyond for me here. Never once did I have a bad experience!


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

they probably recognized you as someone who shoplifted the time before


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

I hate seeing local shops close (no matter what they are) and I can't let an Ypsi insult go :) I got the email that the owner sent out and the article is pretty misleading, so I was a bit offended.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Good thing parking rates are going up so they can improve the downtown area! Oh... wait, that doesn't make sense.

Blanch DuBois

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

Perhaps too many business owners assume that because this is Ann Arbour (said with a British accent), that any and every &quot;boutique&quot; store will be a success. Maybe it's not the lack of parking, or the cost of parking, or the panhandlers, or the undesirable business next door, or the economy....maybe you're just not offering anything I want to spend my money on.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

So you don't think &quot;lack of parking, or the cost of parking, or the panhandlers, or the undesirable business next door, or the economy&quot; has anything to do with an independent business closing? This economy is closing national and state wide chains, why would the economy not affect a small independent shop? Oh that's right, you're not into the product so that's why it's closing.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

stupid supply and demand always ruining terrible business plans.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

The DDA needs to put some of that parking revenue towards advertising for the downtown. A Pure Ann Arbor marketing theme to help out some of the non restaurant businesses. Isn't that what the DDA is supposed to do anyway? Market downtown Ann Arbor?


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Having owned a retail store before, I know the difficulty in today's economy in selling products like this store - the market for them has fallen sharply off in the last 10-12 years. Also, in only a 1,000 square feet space, it's REALLY hard to sell enough of those type of products to pay for the exorbitant downtown rent. And I'd be willing to bet that the drop in foot traffic observed by the owner was caused in large part by the huge underground garage boondoggle nearby which has made access to the area harder and less easy-to-find parking available.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Two bottles of hippie hand lotion $30.00! One cup of fecal coffee $40.00! Finding your car after it's been towed. Priceless


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Extending street meters to 9PM, reducing the maximum amt of time you can park at those meters, adjusting those meters to be more expensive than the garages, and the new u/g parking garage itself will HELP stores like this NOT hurt them. Last weekend, I ordered take-out from a restaurant at State &amp; Liberty. Circled several blocks multiple times because I just wanted to hop out, throw a quarter in a meter, pick up my food, get a beverage at 7-11, and go home. There was ZERO turnover on street spots. So I sucked it up and headed over to the Thompson - Maynard garage figuring I'd have to spend more time driving up to the roof than I would running into the restaurant to get my food. Only 4 spots available in that HUGE garage. And there was a sign blocking any other cars from entering so it was CLOSED! Wound up all the way down by that black cube that spins on its point. Far away from State/Liberty intersection. THIS is an argument for going out to the lousy chains into the land of strip malls and abundant parking to quickly grab take-out. How can there be so many business owners and residents in town that don't understand that if you INCREASE street parking turn-over therby increasing foot traffic, and ADD more garages to prevent people from getting turned away by LOT FULL signs, it will actually BENEFIT business, not harm it. You are all freaking out about losing literally a couple of dollars for a couple hours of parking. Are you people even prying open your wallets to buy anything downtown after you find your free spot in the parking lot of a bank that has closed for the day? And also, maybe no one wanted to buy overpriced crap with the word organic written on the label.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Certainly each situation is different, but the fact is the Liberty is looking really terrible. The parking rates should not be continually raised in this environment! You could call it the Downtown Destruction Association.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

lately businesses have been dropping like flys


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

How about putting in a subway!?!?!


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

the rising parking rates and the super heavy inforcement of meters is indeed pissing customers off who then do not shop downtown. Pretty soon there will only be restaurants downtown. Parking enforcement ends at 6. If there are no shoppers supporting parking the DDA will go after the dinner crowd for sure. So the hours will be extended past 6. Tthose people will get pissed at parking rates and enforcement too and eventually stop going to the restaurants as well. Of course many of the restaurants downtown are owned by a louder group that has more clout than small little businesses like those that have closed recently. the DDA should give free parking on Saturdays in a bid to attract new customers.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

Atticus, So what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Maybe it is a bad location for a retail store. I guess those fly by night operations like Champion House that only lasted 20 years are the problem? If the owner is making the argument that parking is the issue, they are sadly in need a reality check. Let's say there were no meters in the city of Ann Arbor. How easy would access to those stores be? I say they would have LESS business. If there were no meters, employees of the banks, law offices, court house, UM, the post office, the library, restaurants and any other number of retailers would take those spots every single day for HOURS at a time. The fact is parking meters encourage people to get in and out. I have not heard any of them trumpeting the fact that they will pay for one hour of parking. I have not seen them saying we are going to open from noon until maybe midnight or 2 am (when parking wouldn't be an issue). The problem is, these retailers are stuck in a retail mindset from the past. The funny part is, the same people who complain about losing retail in downtown are also complaining every time a new apartment, hotel development or something that doesn't meet their aesthetic. They are the same people complaining about the parking garage next to the library. So if there isn't enough parking, the DDA gives more parking, but the citizens complain. It is a lose lose.

Atticus F.

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

johnnya2, I also see tons of businesses failing in that area...Not just the ones mentioned in this article. I dont know what the exact failure rate is, but by my calculations, it is a much, much higher rate of failure than in any area in Ann Arbor.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Yet I see tons of other businesses surviving. People are speaking with their dollars loud and clear. We are not interested in retail stores that sell over prices crap that I can get on line for half the price. Parking is the least of her worries. Maybe letting people know what she is selling would work. I have driven by there and I will be honest, I always thought the name sounded like an organic yogurt shop. What was her marketing budget? Did she try to set up validation of parking, or maybe offering to pay for one hour of parking for any customer who came in her shop and bought something? Did she try direct mail? Coupon magazines? Finding another business that might have similar type customers that could do cross marketing? The problem with most failed businesses is, they want to blame somebody else instead of their lack of a smart business plan. I read budgets and business plans of companies all the time, and am astounded by how many think &quot;build it and they will come&quot;. You need to aggressively market your business EVERY DAY. If you cut your marketing budget when times are tough, you are putting yourself in a death spiral.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

The DDA needs to be dis-banded and reorganized with ELECTED persons who will better represent the needs of the downtown. The current hand picked appointees of the mayor are misguided and out-of-touch

Eric Penrose

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

closing businesses always put blame somewhere else. Perhaps their business isn't what the community needed?


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

For me, the consistent thing across all of the recent store closings downtown is that I had never heard of any of them prior to the announcement of their demise. I suppose marketing is more difficult after the failure of the local paper, but somehow these retailers need to find a way to gain visibility to those of us who don't study storefronts!

Jojo B

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

I work downtown and walk around at lunch every single day. Liberty, State, Main, etc. I never noticed this store. Then again, perhaps I blocked it out cause I could care less about foot cream.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

you could go for a walk downtown, however it will cost you ten bones to take the stroll.

Barb Roether

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

There is so much competition in the retail world now. To open a small, independent store in Ann Arbor selling products that are easily gotten online or in drug and department stores is a tough road. It will take time to find the right mix of what will be successful in this town in this economic environment. Sorry to see all the closings in town but times they are a'changing. It is not just the parking situation alone. I wouldn't be surprised to see national chains finally coming here.Even Costco will be changing the grocery competition. The neighborhood is changing whether you like it or not.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

I think of formaldehyde when I hear of organic bliss. What's needed there is a good hardware store or maybe a Made in Michigan shop. Enough with the cheap, landfill filling crap sold in shops with trendy names. This isn't Hollywood.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

thats funny you shop at walmart and talk about landfill crap ?!?!?


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

There is a Made in Michigan Depot Town Ypsilanti! Come on down!


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Independent Retail Environment? Wasn't her store an independent retailer? Is she saying she would have preferred more Starbucks/Burger Kings/7-11s?


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Ah, roger that. Over.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

You are misreading the comment about "independent retail environment". It is in reference to the decreasing amount of independent retailers, and the environment they face. Not the promotion of chains.

Pixie Belle

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

I think that they just sold items a variety of items no one really wanted to buy.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

I like that shop.... its just people like you who'd rather shop at walmart


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

I shop there regularly. They are the only retail store that offers my favorite brand of cleansers &amp; moisturizers. I'm sorry to see her go &amp; I'll continue to shop at the online store.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

Where would you go for those items?

Pixie Belle

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

What I was saying is no one went there over another store to look for those items.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

Such as &quot;items like skin care products, candles and clothes&quot;? Yeah, nobody buys those things.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

I was in there once. It was all stuff I might buy for the wife, but twice the price I would expect. I'm not paying a markup of 100% to feel slightly good about where my foot cream comes from.