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Posted on Sat, Oct 24, 2009 : 5:30 a.m.

Fashionable yet affordable Pitaya women's boutique opens on South State

By Janet Miller

If you’re looking for trendy women’s fashion without the sticker shock, a new Ann Arbor boutique might be the shop for you.

Pitaya, a small chain of trendy, affordable clothing boutiques for teens and young women, has found a new home on South State Street.

Pitaya opened its 16th store nationwide Friday in space once occupied by Shaman Drum Bookshop. It is the second Pitaya in Michigan. A Royal Oak store opened four years ago, and is the company’s second largest store in terms of sales, said owner Michael Mazor.

Pitaya - The Details

Location: 315 S. State St.
Hours: Mon. - Sat.: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun.: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
The name: Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus native to Central and South America. 


Employees inside the new Pitaya boutique on South State Street discuss what's the next in stocking the store. Janet Miller for

Pitaya’s price points range from $12 T-shirts to $69 jeans, and inventory is turned over rapidly. “We change our merchandise every week significantly,” Mazor said. The Pitaya label is sewn in the United States and accounts for about 20 percent of the inventory.

“We have trendy, cute, inexpensive (women’s) clothing,” Mazor said. “We have a lot of designer copies.”

Mazor said he has been looking to open an Ann Arbor location for years, but had limited his search to just South State Street storefronts. He said he wanted space where town met gown.

His customer base ranges from 13 to 35, and he wanted to capitalize on the student population, but also be accessible to local customers.

Mazor began negotiating to take over part of the 1,840-square-feet of space when the Shaman Drum Bookshop closed this summer. In fact, Mazor said he had his eye on the space even before the bookstore announced its closing.

“I thought Shaman Drum might not be making it because of what’s happening to book stores all over,” said Mazor, who would not comment on the terms of his lease.

He contracted for the build-out, adding wood floors, dressing rooms and lighting, in September, and began moving his stock in on Wednesday. When the certificate of occupancy was issued late Thursday, contractors were still putting finishing touches on the building, and staff was busy hanging clothes and stocking shelves.

Mazor opened his first Pitaya in his hometown of Bloomington, IN in 1990. He was familiar with Ann Arbor, he said, from the days when he sold Guatemalan imports as a street vendor during the summer art fairs. He also sold the imports wholesale in the area.

“I’ve always liked Ann Arbor, and I always thought it would be a perfect fit. I think it’s underserved for what we do,” he said.

Pitaya stores are spread around the country, from Seattle to Athens, GA., but the majority are located in the Midwest. Mazor said he selects locations based on livability.

“I put them in places where staff will enjoy themselves, both in and out of the store,” he said. He expects to have a staff of 10 once the hiring is complete. He said he had no present plans for a 17th store.



Sat, Oct 24, 2009 : 12:17 p.m.

Nothing will replace Shaman Drum. Ann Arbor is losing too many of our local businesses. Maybe this new store will send some traffic to other local vendors on State Street. We will see.

Barb Roether

Sat, Oct 24, 2009 : 11:04 a.m.

Well said Adam. The times are a changing big time. As much as we want to support the local vendors that have been in this town for a long time it has been so difficult for them to continue with all the discount competition around. To be successful in this economy there has to be a greater selection of resonably priced goods for a greater variety of customers. Even the most loyal customers are shopping more carefully. I will continue to support local business first but also understand that I am more selective with my dollars.


Sat, Oct 24, 2009 : 10:21 a.m.

Ypsidweller - clarify your point if you would? While I also lament the loss of Shaman Drum, it would seem that this business is a smaller, individually owned shop, that to some extent (clothng SEWN in U.S. - would be best if material had been made here as well) is supporting more localized economies. When you say "welcome a clothing store catering to young women and girls" -- is this to imply that the building's owner who has significant carrying costs (taxes, utilities, insurance) should not welcome any business but a mom and pop literature venture? And why the addition of "to young women and girls"? How is that relevant? Would Van Boven be better? They just sell to stodgy old dudes like me. Perhaps they could add a section of Hijabs and Burkhas, along with a few copies of the "Anarchists Cookbook", Would all be well then? My point is -- tumbleweeds are rolling through the marketplace. I also cringe at the Bruger's Bagels and Potbellies. But, when a smaller business owner offers to make our shops come to life, I think it important that we be supportive of them. Like you, I will not take my business to Bruggger's. I'll go to Barry's, or Zingerman's. However, "economy wise" we as a city, state and country, are unfortunately in the position where the maxim "beggars can't be choosers" might be self-applied, unfortunately. We should embrace those small business people who will bring a few dollars and a few jobs to the area. Every bit counts. Doesn't mean that we need to shop Walmarts. The "middle way" methinks.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Sat, Oct 24, 2009 : 8:02 a.m.

Ann Arborites: Frequent your local independent bookstores!


Sat, Oct 24, 2009 : 7:28 a.m.

"Pitaya, a small chain of trendy, affordable clothing boutiques for teens and young women, has found a new home on South State Street." Lose Shaman Drum, one of the few remaining precious, unique, and high-quality stores in Ann Arbor, and welcome a clothing store catering to young women and girls. Oh, Ann Arbor. Why did you choose that other road (back about ten years ago), selling your soul piece by piece?