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Posted on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Specialty wine shop, Subway under construction on Ann Arbor's North Maple Road

By Lizzy Alfs


The redeveloped building at 1251 N. Maple in Ann Arbor has a new tenant: a specialty wine shop.

Daniel Brenner |

The long-awaited Subway sandwich shop that plans to open in a redeveloped building on the southwest corner of Maple and Miller has a new neighbor: a specialty wine store.

Pram and Suzanne Acharya, owners of the 12-year-old Esperance wine shop and cafe in Charlevoix, signed a lease for the 1,100-square-foot space next to the under-construction Subway.

“Ann Arbor is, in our opinion, the most vibrant city in Michigan currently and has been for a long time,” Pram said.

“I think the clients in Ann Arbor have the discerning palate; they support nice places with great food quality.”

The husband and wife pair has been in the hospitality business for decades — they met while working at the Golden Mushroom restaurant in Southfield and also worked at Tapawingo in Charlevoix.


The owners of Esperance, pictured in Charlevoix, plan to open a specialty wine shop in Ann Arbor.

Photo from Esperance

The Ann Arbor wine shop, which will also be named Esperance, will focus on a wide-ranging wine selection and a small selection of food. An experienced sommelier, Pram said he will carry bottles of wine that range from $7.50 to a couple thousand dollars.

“I chase quality, I don’t chase price,” he said. “You only have one life, you really should drink quality wine at whatever price you can afford. I don’t mind if you come in and spend eight dollars, but we want to sell the best bottle of eight dollar wine you can afford.”

The food, he said, will be a carefully curated selection of upscale, interesting and quality products.

“It will be a lot of interesting food that you can quickly take home and make a meal with,” Pram said. “Because we’ve been in the food business so long, every product we will have we know intimately. We don’t put anything on the shelves unless we believe in it.”

The shop is one of two retail spaces in the 2,200-square-foot redevelopment. The building, which was completed in 2008, is registered to Lagos Investment Company, LLC.

Ann Arbor’s Colliers International marketed the retail spaces for an annual $27 per square foot, and Subway sandwich shop franchisee Mike Heffner signed a lease for one of the spaces in Aug. 2011. Issues with the cooler systems delayed construction on the restaurant for some time, said Jim Chaconas of Colliers.

“They should be moving along pretty quick,” he said. “The landlord had to get his work done and then (the restaurant) goes through and pounds it out.”

Heffner could not be reached for comment for an update, but permits pulled with the city of Ann Arbor indicate work at the space is making progress. He applied for restaurant build-out and reoccupation permits in June.

Pram said he and his wife have not determined a timeline for opening Esperance yet, but they plan to start construction on the space in coming weeks. They will take turns coming to Ann Arbor to run the store.

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



Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

Wow another subway chain! That's great! Whoever said Ann Arbor wasn't unique!

Claude Kershner

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

When does the Speedway construction start?


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

Welocme to Ann Arbor! Wishing you the best of luck and will meet you soon.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Any craft beer or only wine?


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

I love Esperance and told Pram about this space a year ago. His Charlevoix store is a 5 star operation. Ann Arbor could not do better. I don't like Subway next door. Pram could easily take the whole space if he added sit down dining like he has in Charlevoix.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

I'll have a nice Red to accompany my cold-cut combo.....


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Or a nice white to accompany my oven-roasted chicken.......


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Re: "I don't mind if you come in and spend eight dollars, but we want to sell the best bottle of eight dollar wine you can afford." I don't have a lot of money, so I can't afford a good eight dollar bottle. I'll have to settle for a lousy one...

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2 p.m.

I saw that, too. Sounds like something Yogi Berra would have said.

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Will they have Ripple? I love Ripple! Too bad Sotini's, Izzy's, or one of the other great local sandwich shops, won't be filling that spot. Subway's corporate chain sandwich pricing these days is often more than small local mom and pop shops.

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

I dare someone to tell Fred G. Sanford that his diet preferences violate the comment policy.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

It's actually Manischewitz and Ripple. He called it Manischipple.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Hey Ron, maybe they'll have Fred Sanford's favorite beverage, a combination of champagne and ripple. you know, "champipple". YAK!


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Pram! For those who aren't familiar with him, he has a strong reputation as one of the most knowledgeable wine merchants in the state. Will be strong addition to the already-competitive local wine market.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Subway has Michael Vick as a spokesperson. Need I say more? There's already a lot of congestion in that area, and that parking lot can't handle two businesses- it's too small. Plenty of high school students to ignore crossing signals, though.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Lets boycott Obama because he went to Rev (I use the term loosely) Wrights church!


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Another reason to boycott Subway. Micheal Vick. One who will never learn how to hold a dog without sending it to the pit. Did you know he was allowed to get a dog for his daughter. For shame.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

Glad to see this space getting filled, perfect new additions. Welcome!


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

I hate to say this but they jacked their prices up from $5 to almost $8 bucks for a footlong. I was told this by one Subway near our home that corporate came in and changed everything. I no longer frequent Subway since this mass price increase. Guess it is back to Wendys.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

fjord The $5 footlong is a permanent menu item for 6 different subs.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

The $5 footlong is a recurring promotion. It's never been the regular across-the-board price for their footlongs. I haven't noticed price increases, but they have introduced some more expensive items over the past few years.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

The $8 ones are those with extra meat, such as the Big Philly Cheesesteak.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

I stopped by subway this evening and they STILL have $5 footlongs!


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

Nothing like a medium bodied red to wash down that cold cut combo!


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

a2tom, how about a nice riesling to accompany your black forest ham?

Mary Bilyeu

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

A new wine and food store will be lovely - what fun!


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

I've looked and looked, but can't find the couple refered to in the caption to the picture.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

Amazing to think of the revenue that has not been made on that corner for the last, what, eight years.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

Not just that but the taxes that have been paid on that property.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

Heh I just thought of something.... New Wine Specialty store......1/4 mile down the road from Alcoholics Anonymous....


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

There is two elementary's and a middle school in that area too. Wow. How convenient.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

Between AA and the high school.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

The property owners have been eating taxes on those empty buildings for over 5's about time they got something in there. I bet if the redevelopment of old marathon property kitty corner to this place has everything to do with why it's getting attention again. Well that and all the extra traffic being brought over there because of Skyline now.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Already very tough competition. Everyday Wines in Kerrytown is the best, and Plum does a decent job, too. Both are only a mile or two away.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

When are you stuck in the mud a2 folks going to get over the Big M change, it has been nothing but positive for that neighborhood.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:59 p.m.

You left out Big M....I mean Fortnum's.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

The Esperance in Charlevoix is terrific. I fully expect them to be successful here with their great service and knowledge. Those of you close by will be thrilled.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

The headline "under construction" is wrong. Nothing is happening at that location as of this afternoon, just like nothing has happened there for eight years. Perhaps a better term would be, "planned."


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

So, the Subway is still planned? There's been no action there since this was announced months (a year?) ago. I'll believe it when I actually some movement there.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

+1. We've heard such promises before...

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

The Subway website still says, "Coming soon!" but I'm with you - I'll believe it when I see it.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Woot! Looks like this intersection is going to get a lot better. Can't wait.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

I live within walking distance and can't wait to frequent both. It sure is nice that there's finally tenants for that building.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

I'm extremely displeased by this news. Both are horrible additions to the neighborhood. As is the planned multi unit housing planned for the other corner. The only good news is there will be (at some point) a Speedway on the corner, if they would hurry up on it.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

AnnArborism: an empty building employing nobody is better than a national chain restaurant.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

Why would you be "extremely displeased"? I mean subway sucks but this store looks nice.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

??? On the one hand, I could imagine that you'd rather see other particular businesses, but how are these horrible additions to the neighborhood? The housing development is a different question, of course, but I struggle to imagine what makes these two businesses undesirable in that space.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Welcome Esperance - I'll certainly be paying you a visit (and seeing how your selection and prices stack up against your neighbor to the East, Plum Market).


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

You mean _south._

Atticus F.

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

This city needs more Subways.

John Gotts

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

It would be nice to have more mom and pop sub chains, but Subway isn't such a bad fast food option.


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

I work just down the road on Miller. I will be a repeat customer of both businesses.