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Posted on Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory closes on Ann Arbor's East Liberty Street

By Lizzy Alfs

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory closed its doors over the weekend after five years in downtown Ann Arbor.

Franchise owner Angela Eddins decided to close the chocolate shop at 521 E. Liberty St. when her lease expired at the end of March, said the building’s listing broker Randy Maas of Swisher Commercial.


Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory closed over the weekend in downtown Ann Arbor.

Lizzy Alfs |

The 1,864-square-foot space is now vacant, and Maas said he and Swisher Commercial’s Mike Giraud are negotiating a deal with a new tenant.

“We’re pretty close to signing a lease, so we really never actually put (the space) on the market,” Maas said. He declined to provide details on the prospective tenant.

Founded in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has stores in Michigan, according to its website. Eddins opened the Ann Arbor store in April 2008.

In 2012, Eddins told that business at her store dropped significantly after Borders closed its flagship store on East Liberty and Maynard streets.

From that report:

"It used to be insane because people would always go to Borders (bookstore) and then come over to us,” she said. “Everyone would come to our store with a Borders bag in hand. This year, with Borders not being there, it was much less crowded.”

Eddins’ decision to close Rocky Mountain comes shortly after two neighboring businesses closed on East Liberty Street: Grand Traverse Pie Company and Pink Pump.

Maas said he has several prospective tenants for the Pink Pump space at 601 E. Liberty St.

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



Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

What is SPARK doing in that space they have on Liberty? What product are they delivering? I think that's the only "store" on Liberty my tax dollars go to, and I don't know what they've done with the money. Ren't pretty expensive in that area, so I know I'm helping them pay for that. So what are they doing with it?

Lynn Liston

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

I'm sorry to see this little shop close. The owners were really nice people, the coffee and chocolates were delicious and it had a nice ambiance. Friends and I would often see a movie at the Michigan, then go to Rocky Mountain for our coffee and dessert treats. I have photos of us hanging out with that big 'ole stuffed bear who often joined us at our table. :) We also used to spend at least a half hour before the movie browsing in Borders- boy, I really miss that place! The whole block feels so much less like a fun place to go than it used to.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

It hasn't been the same since they installed the traffic lights at State and Liberty, tied of course with when Borders closed. That used to be a 4 way stop, with pedestrians ALWAYS having the right of way. Now people wait for the green light to walk, and it slows momentum and energy in the area, with Borders leaving being the final nail in the coffin.


Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

Because of the heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic at that intersection, there have always been traffic lights at that intersection. Having been around that campus since childhood, I think I would have remembered stop signs there. Then, again, it has been soooooo long - I remember Ben Hur's first run at the State Theater!


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

How could it have been a 4 way stop?? Liberty dead ends at State there so at most it would have been a 3 way stop right? So like CynicA2 wondering if you are thinking of a different interesection :-)


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

You sure you're thinking of the right intersection - there have been traffic lights at State and Liberty for as long as I can remember - many decades. The only thing different more recently has been the shift from one-way streets, to two-way streets, a number of years ago.

John of Saline

Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

I miss Jacobson's.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

Maybe modernize the front part of the marquee! That big ugly backdrop should go! Show the original brickwork.

say it plain

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Glad to hear that the Michigan is still doing well lol... I love the Michigan and thanks to Russ Collins for all he does for our city... But clearly the Michigan is a 'destination' location that in some respects in somewhat self-contained in terms of its own busi-ness. I mean, I'm sure it increases business at nearby restaurants, but it stands as one of the only establishments in its area that led me to *Border's* on a 'drop-in just because I'm in the area' destination rather than as its own end! This 'tech corridor' idea--the value of which @Brad reasonably questions--may help local coffee shops and lunch-y joints beyond the student-scene type-casting and chain-choices, but it won't make over that region as a destination for street life and community vibe. My time down there will only happen now when there's something at the Michigan I want to see, and it will *not* be a draw of any kind to watch software engineers, their fine salaries notwithstanding, milling about looking for a place to get latte or lentils. It remains to be seen whether anything will come in to fill the void of the missing browsing/shopping spot that Borders' presence (and the other bookstores now gone from the State Street area) represented to downtown-area Ann Arbor.

Russ Collins

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

Please know the Michigan Theater is doing well. Attendance in all categories is strong. Clearly the empty store front in the formers Borders (former Jacobson's) store is not ideal, but the neighborhood is far from troubled. Turnover in these Liberty Street store fronts is fairly consistent, but store fronts never stay empty for long. Remember Albert's Copying, Schoolkinds Records, SKR Classical, the Marilyn Shoppe, Men's Toggery, John Leidy Shops, the Bowling Alley in the Michigan Theater's basement? In my many years at the Michigan Theater and viewing pictures of Michigan Theater through the years, the turnover in these retail store fronts has been rather regular. That turnover in and of itself is an indicator of a certain kind of commercial and retail vitality. That being said, I too get nostalgic for some of the old businesses that operated on East Liberty between State and Division -- and we certainly miss Borders!

Russ Collins

Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

David, Wonderful idea! However, renting space for a class room and purchasing and managing filmmaking equipment and classes is, currently, a bit outside of our expertise and capability. We are thinking carefully about how the Michigan Theater might further enhance the appreciation of film and promote film culture in our community and your idea fits into the kind projects we will consider in the future. Thanks for sharing your idea.

David Paris

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Mr Collins, Is there any chance that the Michigan Theatre could annex some of the Borders space. Maybe create an Ann Arbor Film Factory that makes shorts for the AAFF, or do some book readings, or create some kind of Creative Arts Space that this town currently does not have? Just throwing some things out there...


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Blimpie needs a new location soon!


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

Blimpy's could take over the rest of the Borders Building and turn it into a Blimpy's Emporium. A formal dining room. A glass and chrome Condiments Center. Deep Fry Extravaganza where the kids can have a tactile experience. The Order Training Center. Now, that would be a destination. Hmmm, is that Education Department Grants I smell? How about a City art commission for a lighted, water-squirting burger? Gotta think outside the box people. Oh, that's a taco commercial isn't it?


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

The Ann Arbor burger place is SPELLED BLIMPY'S...Blimpie's is a submarine sandwich company!

Jenn McKee

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

I think one of the difficulties of that block on Liberty, particularly since Borders closed, is that it's not right next to U-M's campus, but it's also not exactly part of what many people generally consider "downtown," since that seems to be centrally located on Main St. You kind of have to have a bigger reason - previously provided by Borders - to walk to that part of town, and right now, it's lacking.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

How about high definition video screens like Times Square?


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

Hmmmm... for whatever reasons, E. Liberty ain't what it used to be, in terms of pedestrian traffic. Not so sure the void will be filled by employees of various businesses like Barracuda, versus a "destination" like Borders. It's just not the same.


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 3:18 a.m.

What's the cost of rent there Mike?


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Given the cost of rent in that area I don't see how anything could survive there without an anchor like Borders. I don't find myself visiting Barracuda very often (ever).


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

You mean all those people in the "tech hub" weren't enough to keep them afloat?


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Because if the taxpayers are going to subsidize people moving to that area we expect to see some results.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

There has been a lot of turnover on East Liberty Street in the past couple years. Whatever happens with the redevelopment of the Borders building should really define that area. If strong tenants that are big traffic drivers sign leases, it could activate the rest of the street. With PRIME Research and Barracuda there now, I would hope that business will increase for nearby restaurant/shop owners.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Every new beginning comes at the expense of another beginning's end.


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

I think you just blew my mind.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

Easy, eze, "Closing Time" is a darn good song.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Wasn't that line from some crappy "Semisonic" song?

say it plain

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

So sorry to see them go, they were nice folks... But I am surely one of those people who ceased having a regular visit because of Border's closing. For me the store was so completely associated with Borders that when I found myself wondering where I might get some *good* easter chocolates, Kilwin's came to mind along with Schokolad, but I forgot about Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory altogether! Which is a pity, because their chocolate is actually quite decent, competitive for sure with those other outlets. Best of luck with new ventures to them and sorry about their leaving...

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

another one bites the dust


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

Hurry, install a pizza or sub joint there.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.



Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

I think a nail salon would be appropriate...


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

BAH! You beat me too it Oxy!


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Or a Cheesecake Factory! (sorry, someone had to say it)