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Posted on Tue, May 4, 2010 : 6:01 a.m.

Pink Pump shoe store to open in ex-John Leidy Shop in Ann Arbor

By Paula Gardner

pink pump.jpg

Tawny Thieu is opening Pink Pump, a new shoes and accessories store next to the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor. The store, which replaced the former John Leidy Shop, is slated to open in July.

Angela J. Cesere |

A growing Oakland County shoe boutique will open its fourth store this summer in Ann Arbor in the building that housed the John Leidy Shop on East Liberty for decades.

With the change, the space that used to sell some of Ann Arbor’s most traditional housewares will turn into what Pink Pump owner Tawny Thieu calls “very girly chic.”

“It will be very fun and very cool,” Thieu said. And, she added, “all pink.’’

Thieu had been looking for a location in Ann Arbor for the past year. Thieu plans to open by early July as her store joins the growing fashion hub in the State and Liberty corridors.

She wanted to be downtown, close to campus and amid independent apparel retailers, since her business feeds off the type of foot traffic that a clustering of boutiques can generate. And she liked the proximity of some chain stores, but not too many restaurants.

East Liberty, she said, fit that definition perfectly.

And the longevity of the John Leidy Shop in that location added to the incentive to pursue the space, she said.

“It’s just a testament to how great Ann Arbor is for supporting local boutiques,” Thieu said.

Pink Pump sells high-fashion shoes priced from $20 to $400, with clothing and accessories added to the mix.

The 1,150-square-foot store will follow the Pink Pump’s business model: “There will always be something new, something unique and always in a great price range,” Thieu said.

Her other stores - located in Bloomfield Hills and the downtowns of Birmingham and Royal Oak - focus on items from designers like Michael Kors and Betsey Johnson, with many shoe styles in brands ranging from Jessica Simpson, L.A.M.B., Hunter and Minnetonka.

Thieu will bring that mix to the Ann Arbor store. Missing will be the UGG brand, due to other retailers already carrying those products nearby.

But Thieu will add what she calls “comfort shoes.”

“With this being a great college town … it’s important not to have just high-fashion and trendy (shoes) but also comfort pieces,” she said.

Merchandise will change rapidly, Thieu said, with some pieces on reorder, but many others part of a single order. As a result, Thieu said, her customers stop in often to see what’s new and newly marked-down.

That strategy builds a loyal clientele, she said. So does her attention to store design, where shoes and clothing are incorporated into a single, easy-to-navigate floorplan.

The location on East Liberty attracted a lot of interest as soon as the John Leidy Shop closing was announced, said listing broker Mike Giraud of Colliers International.

“A lot was from food users,” he said, but many other retailers sought the space, too.

The asking rental rate of $37 per square foot per year put the space at the upper end of citywide retail rates, thanks to the proximity to South State and campus.

The corridor also is raising its profile as a retail destination, Giraud said. Borders, Urban Outfitters, Bivouac and American Apparel are all destination stores, with many nearby boutiques - like Poshh, Allure and the new Pitaya on South State adding to the draw for shoppers. Another apparel hub is taking shape closer to Main Street.

The number of changes on the East Liberty corridor have been higher than in typical years, said Newcombe Clark, a commercial real estate agent at Jones Lang LaSalle and member of the Downtown Development Authority.

“But the stores coming in have been really interesting,” he said, mentioning lab cafe and Tomukun Noodle Bar as food-related examples.

“(The stores) coming in are unique,” Clark said. “So that’s good to see, since shoppers will have more reasons to choose Ann Arbor over a strip mall or shopping mall.”

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.



Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

I came in shopping with a girlfriend of mine and her baby... First and foremost their was no room for the stroller in the very slim aisle. Next, the young woman behind the counter was INCREDIBLY rude to us... The young woman proceeded to stare at us, while continually giving the two of us disgusting looks. Before we even had the opportunity to walk around the store, the young woman condescendingly proceeded to say, "BYE!" Then, even after making a purchase, she continued the negative attitude, comments and gestures. As a pregnant mother, I could not believe the LACK of service. This was my last and final visit. I have never felt more disrespected! Absolutely absurd and uncalled for!


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

Well, way to encourage a fun new business people. I, for one,am completely DELIGHTED! To buy these brands of shoes I usually order on-line or drive to Somerset a couple times a year. Everytime I go to Briarwood, I'm annoyed at the lack of selection and the seeming inability of Von Maur's or Macy's to stock the current season's styles. Only Aldo even comes close to current evening cocktail attire. And the other downtown specialty shops only stock a handful of styles. Thank you, Ms. Tawny...AND I like the name! How about a SITC II opening party? Helloo Lover!


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 7:15 a.m.

Pink Pump makes me think of pink Air Jordans that can be pumped up by depressing the tongue of the shoe (think 80s). Even if the store sell multicolored shoes and other products, the name 'Pink' is simply misleading. Also, Royal Oak and Ann Arbor attract different consumers. Ann Arbor boasts a tech savvy tween and college student demographic that follows fashion more closely associated with larger urban environments such as New York, and Chicago, and Los Angeles, this store seems to 'low brow' to survive in A2. That's just me... good luck.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 8:08 p.m.

@David: What? Mast Shoes is still around, with their larger store at Westgate.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

It is her fourth store, so she obviously has an idea about what she is doing. Being privy to the Royal oak location, it gets some good traffic. She targets a very good demographic. Teenage girls from Saline will be driving by the new Wal-mart to get a pair of "kicks" from this place, trust me.

joanie e

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

The store does not sell only pink merchandise, thats just the name. I shop at the other locations and love the merchandise and prices. Negative comments are unnecessary, its always good to see businesses expand in this tough economy. This store also does alot of charity donations. Congratulations!

joanie e

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:26 p.m.

The store does not sell only pink merchandise, thats just the name. I shop at the other locations and love the merchandise and prices. Negative comments are unnecessary, its always good to see businesses expand in this tough economy. This store also does alot of charity donations. Congratulations!

Paula Gardner

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

Just to clarify... Pink will dominate the color theme of the store, but the shoes will not solely be pink. Though that could be fun!


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

"I always thought Ann Arbor was a cut above the 'burbs" Ann Arbor would be nothing without the University of Michigan...which, surprisingly, has a large number of 18-22 year old females who are interested in things like *gasp* pink shoes! The thousands of kids who make it possible for the Ann Arbor elite to talk about "class and elegance" really don't have any interest in high end furniture stores and most of the other shops I walk past downtown. They're kids for God's sake, not baby boomers with 8-figure 401Ks. They want pizza. They want nightlife. They want fashion! I'm continually shocked by the number of people who won't accept the fact that Ann Arbor is a college town, first and foremost.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

I hope you are right, Mr.Edward Vielmetti. I'm just saying specialty stores featuring monochromatic (singular color) products generally don't do well. Henry Ford, after all, did start offering different colors of his automobiles(besides black)once his competition caught on to consumer demand. This STORE'S marketing strategy seems to revert back, HUH?


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

It boils down to good taste - or lack thereof. I always thought Ann Arbor was a cut above the 'burbs, but apparently not. I guess I just miss the class and elegance of the Leidy Shop. Very disappointing.

Rob Pollard

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

What do you mean, "couldn't come up with something better than this?" It's a locally based store (Oakland County) which offers higher-end merchandise that fits with the area. It's something you couldn't get at Briarwood or Green Oak Village. I personally have no interest in pink pumps or any other ladies shoes, but she's obviously a serious businesswoman (3 other stores) who's building a mini-empire. Best of luck to her.


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 9:59 a.m.

From Leidy's, one of the finest quality family run businesses Ann Arbor has ever had, to girly chic pink shoes -- Ann Arbor and the State St. Business Assoc. couldn't come up with anything better than this? It makes me nauseous!! We miss you John Leidy!


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 7:52 a.m.

Good Luck, Tawny! Thank you for believing in Downtown Ann Arbor. I hope your store is a huge success!


Tue, May 4, 2010 : 7:23 a.m.

They'll be in business for exactly 6 months. Stores like Masts and others were not able to compete with the Mall or discount chains, so why should this store be any different?