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Posted on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

Tim Hortons to replace 'lab' coffee shop space in downtown Ann Arbor

By Nathan Bomey

Restaurant chain Tim Hortons plans to open a coffee shop in downtown Ann Arbor at the space occupied for two years by a coffee shop called lab.


Tim Hortons plans to open a coffee shop at the space currently occupied by lab.

Ryan Stanton |

The Canadian company has filed requests to renovate the 1,200-square-foot space at 505 E. Liberty St., Suite 300, in the McKinley Towne Centre.

The news — first reported by The Ann magazine and confirmed by — comes as Tim Hortons is also planning to open two other new stores in Ann Arbor.

Brynn Burton, manager of U.S. public relations for Tim Hortons, declined to comment on plans for the downtown store but acknowledged the building permits.

The news comes a few months after Michigan-based restaurant chain Grand Traverse Pie Co. leased the former @burger restaurant space a few steps to the west on East Liberty Street in the McKinley Towne Centre. The Grand Traverse Pie franchise owner recently started renovations on the space and is hiring managers.

The future of lab — the business name is spelled in lower case — was not immediately clear. One of the shop's owners, Joanna Hong, declined to comment this morning.

Thomas Gritter, an executive with Ann Arbor-based real estate firm McKinley Inc., which owns the McKinley Towne Centre, also declined to comment.

Lab, which appeals especially to young professionals and college students, opened in March 2010, offering coffee, espresso drinks, yogurt and baked goods.

Tim Hortons announced in 2011 that it would build a new store at the former Enzo's bar just off the northeast corner of South State and Ellsworth on the southern edge of the city. It also announced that it would build a new store at the site of the former Golden Chef restaurant in the Maple Village shopping center at Maple and Jackson.

Construction is expected to start soon at those locations with targeted opening dates of September or October. The stores will be franchised.

Mike Meilleur, senior vice president of U.S. operations for Tim Hortons, said in an email that the company views Ann Arbor as a natural place to grow.

"Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is strategic in how we expand and enter new markets," he said. "We want to make sure we are growing in the markets where we have a presence to be at more points of convenience where our guests live and work."

The company, which has a five-year agreement with IMG College Sports to provide drinks and baked good at University of Michigan sporting events, already has stores in Saline and Ypsilanti Township.

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



Tue, Mar 13, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Lab is NOT CLOSING. A colleague was just there and asked them about it. They were considering moving, but decided not to. Tim Horton's was one of the businesses that was interested in the space, if they left. should really double check their facts and fix this misleading article.

Dug Song

Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 6:15 a.m.

A few months ago, I took a tour through the McKinley building with folks from UM, SPARK, etc. with Albert Berriz. He mentioned to me that he chose to host several of the businesses on his block specifically because they were local. He expressed concern about how generic Ann Arbor downtown was becoming, and said he was committed to supporting a vibrant, diverse, and unique downtown. I hope that's still the case, and that we might all try to "think local first"...

Trek Glowacki

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I'm a bit confused about how, without comment on the plans from any party directly involved, the article title and lead paragraph constitute legitimate reporting. Yes, the presence of building permits suggests lab is moving out and Tim Hortons is moving in but journalists don't go around presenting conjecture, however likely, as fact. "Tim Hortons to replace 'lab' coffee shop space in downtown Ann Arbor" and "Restaurant chain Tim Hortons plans to open a coffee shop in downtown Ann Arbor at the space occupied for two years by a coffee shop called lab" are both unsubstantiated opinions of the author and should be noted as such.

Skylar Woodman

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

Agreed Trek. I read often and I'm really let down by the way this was handled. Lots of speculation, and zero in the way of a revision or update. Mistakes happen- but when there's no follow up stuff like this can be really frustrating.

Ann Arbor Red

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

I'm all about being for Ann Arbor stores, but since the Tim Horton's at the Wendy's on boardwalk closed, the closest one was way out in Ypsi by WCC. Seems like a prime location for Ice Cap's and timbits. Thinking logically, with a Bigby and Starbucks on the same street it isn't too logical, but hey what do i know.. im just a kid.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Well , at least if I go to a Tim Horton's I won't be bothered by all the elitists and hipsters. You go to your $4/cup place with Zingerman'$ pastries, and I'll go to Tim's. From some of the comments on here, you'd think people live in some strange dreamworld. Hopefully, Tim Horton's will be open in time for the Winter Classic, so the Canadians will feel welcome...


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

I can't imagine any marketing study that would support a Tim Horton's in an educated community. I hate driving through Canada with a Tim Horton's at every rest stop. Their coffee is dreadful and even overweight cops won't eat their donuts.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Educated community? Really. I wouldn't guess that by reading comments on here. Certainly a better idea than Bongz and Thongz on Liberty.

wolfman jack

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

At last - a donut downtown ! You can get a bagel or a muffin everywhere - but a donut is a not to be found since Primo's. Ah - the Washtenaw Dairy joy bombs are great ... but no downtown outlet without Primos. [ I used to frequent Primo's. Only two or three of us there on Saturday mornings. Sad. Hard to pay rent like that. Of course - a quiet coffee shop ...nice. No cell phone girls.]. You can find delightful cup-drip (whatever it is called) on main at Mighty Good. Fine coffee. Worth the walk. Cafe con leche - go see Eve. Though Cafe Habana does nicely , too. Cup o' Joe and Donut to meet someone downtown ? Sure. All for it. Will use it. Sorry Dimo didn't take the space. Nice to be recognized walking in the door. Could use some egg salad down on Liberty, too. Hard to find a sandwich downtown (Z's - sure. With a 30 minute line - not so much). Or fried egg and bacon on bagel. Hmmm -


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

White Market used to have some good donuts


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

Espresso Royale on State and Main has sold Washtenaw Dairy doughnuts for a while, and the rest of their baked goods and sandwiches are made out in Whitmore Lake. You can't find a sandwich downtown? Not at Amer's on State? Ahmo's on Huron or Sottini's subs on 4th? How often do you actually go downtown?

Jessica Webster

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

I'm pretty sure I've seen donuts at Lab, but I mainly go there for cappuccino (and frozen yogurt for my kid). Sweetwaters carries Washtenaw Dairy donuts.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

I just walked past lab yesterday and it was filled with people as usual. Seems very strange that they can't make it there every time I go past it there are always people sitting inside.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

Great. A lovely local and independent coffee house being replaced by a Chain. A chain with crappy food and crappy coffee. Way to be local and independent DDA. You fail. Again.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

That location isn't with the DDA district. It's in the State St Merchants area.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

How does this have ANYTHING to do with the DDA? Oh thats right, they are to blame for every businesses failure. Of course they get no credit for any businesses success. What a crock


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

Dom Bakeries


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Are you saying Dom's should open a location over there? Dom's is too far away but they do have good donuts


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

Does this mean AA is not a mini Paris or Chicago ? Well there is all the public art ....just close your eyes and pretend like City Council....


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

I wonder if the people complaining about the loss of "Lab" patronized other local businesses that are no longer in business. Do you remember Wilkinson's Luggage (and briefcases, etc.)? Did you actually buy books, calendars, etc. from Borders or did you look there and buy on-line? Though the music store on State Street, at the corner of Liberty is long gone, we have a local treasure called Encore with a great selection of used CD's, vinyls, etc.. I could go on and on. Obviously, I've been in Ann Arbor a long time, dating back to the later days of Pretzel Bell (I'm guessing you can find info about it on-line) and many other long gone, local businesses. There are many reasons businesses close, but it's potential customers that can make the difference for many businesses. So next time you want paint, etc., try a "hardware store" instead of a big box store and go to a supermarket with a Michigan owner instead of Kroger. Hillers and Busch's each have several regional stores. A little less local, but still a Michigan business, there's Meijers. Kroger's home base is Ohio, though.

Skylar Woodman

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

This published article is in dire need of an update- Lab's likely moving, if anything. And not all that soon. Not only that, but Tim Horton's simply applied to move into this spot if/when it's vacated. They have zero claim on 505 East Liberty Street #300 as it stands.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

FYI- Most Tim Horton's that I have been to are INDEPENDENTLY owned and operated. By local business people. Locally. Just saying.

Lynn Liston

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

Most franchises have local owners, but they are not independent businesses. They often have no decision-making authority over what they sell, at what price, and what advertising they place. In return, they benefit from advertising and bulk purchasing in ways that independent businesses can't. And they send some of their profit to the national corporate headquarters, taking money out of the locality forever.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

TimBits. For. The. Win!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

Two quick points: 1. We have no idea why lab is closing. It might have been their idea. 2. Downtown Ann Arbor has a long history of fast food chains coming in and then failing. So far, the only long term survivors have been the outlets in the basements of the Michigan Union and League. History suggests that we won't have Tim Horton's to kick around for very long.

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

It's sad to lose a hip local business to a mundane chain.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Typical arrogant Ann Arbor four dollars for a cup of coffee and some "conversation." It is this "better than the others" attitude that keeps good businesses from coming into the city.......


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

you're wrong. Businesses, reatil drinking establishments like people who have the money for a well made coffee and a little personal service. They don't like people who drink at home. Coffee or alcohol. How do you define a "good business"? Why do you think that the price of a cup of coffee or your perceived attitude of the paying customer keep good businesses from coming into the city?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Interesting comments, since there is no info about why "lab" is closing. Many options, some of which are: 1) Big corporation is willing to pay more rent or sign longer lease or both, so landlord chose to not renew lab's lease. 2) Lease includes % of revenue and Tim Horton's will do more business, therefore landlord will make more money, so they chose to not renew lab's lease. 3) lab found a better location and told landlord they wouldn't renew, and landlord found a new tenant. 4) lab wasn't making it financially, and as the end of their 1 year lease approached, they decided to close. "No comment" gives this some credence. 5) None of the above.

Lynn Liston

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I'm so sorry to see lab closing- it was a favorite place for us to stop by when going to the Michigan. If a classy coffee shop like lab can't make it there, I don't hold out much hope for a chain like TH. Downtown A2 is not exactly their target demographic. It's also puzzling that they are taking over the old Golden Gate on Stadium. Yes, nice to see something going in there, but there are tons of coffee places all around the Stadium/Jackson/Maple intersection. Village Kitchen, almost next door; Plum Market has a coffee shop; Barry Bagels; Star's Cafe; Dimos; Holidays; Coffee and Chocolate; many places to get coffee and a snack, often with gracious table service.

Heidi Koester

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

At least we still have Espresso Royale, Sweetwaters, Comet and the other local coffee shops. If you're upset at the closing of lab, I'm sure they'd appreciate your business. I tend to take these shops a bit for granted, but they are unique and special, as I am reminded every time I travel and find it almost impossible to find a non-chain coffee shop. And not only are they local, they serve good coffee, good food, and give good service!

Adam Jaskiewicz

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

The local shops are pretty good. I tend to buy beans (from local companies) and brew at home. When I go to a coffee shop it's a special treat to get a fancy-pants espresso drink, not my "daily fix", so I'm willing to pay extra for a really good drink.

Irwin Daniels

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

Espresso Royale is a chain(five different states)


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

That is really sad


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:11 p.m.

I hope Dunkin Donuts show up next!

say it plain

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

That would be so cool for downtown AA, it will feel like a side street off the loop in Chicago, but with nothing interesting nearby. A Tim Hortons *and* a DD's but with the added regional cache of a pseudo-local chain in Grand Traverse Pie Company, just like there might be a chicago-style pizza chain if it were Chicago.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

Yeah!!!! Love Tim hortons! Glad they are finally doing something with the two locations they said last year that they were going to build and now a 3rd downtown-yippee! Was surprised they closed the one on Boardwalk years ago as that left NO Ann arbor location


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Even tho a lot of us want to, more than a few of us don't have the money to really support good local businesses. Not saying that a donut chain has a better chance of getting any of my money, but with the rents, mine and the business and jobs still scarce, money for coffee is the same as it is for beers. I will miss lab. It was different, bright and airy, but I really didn't have the money to do it right for them.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

This is disappointing. Lab was a REAL coffee shop with personality and style. Tim Hortons is just another example of corporate culture infecting downtowns. All we need now is a KFC to go along with our 7-Eleven.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Maybe they'll put a Walmart in the Borders space.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

This is so sad- Ann Arbor is renowned for being quirky and unique. That was especially true the area of town where lab is. It's sad to see developers and consumers alike allow for the blanding of Ann Arbor. Shame especially on McKinley - they should make a choice motivated by local pride rather than local greed.

say it plain

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:17 a.m.

Maybe Tim Horton's can get a piece of the school lunch program outsourcing then too! Timbits in the kiddies' snack trays will surely help build brand loyalty later!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

yeah, that would be consistent of them, right? the same folks who opposed the last school millage?

Holy Cow

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Yes, but did lab have Roll up the Rim to win?


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.


lindsay erin

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Bummer. This was one of the only coffee shops in Ann Arbor that not only has a variety of gluten-free snacks/baked goods (good for me!) but also was so great about supporting other local businesses. I also really enjoyed the varieties of coffee that they offered in addition to the different methods of brewing it. This is almost as saddening as when kicked out Primo!

lindsay erin

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.



Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Those of you who are complaining about large corporations taking over space from local retailers are speaking like true non-property owners. Whether they're "out-of-town" evil doer's or local property owners, they are allowed to get a market rate for rent. Maintenance and taxes aint free ya know! If enough people shun the chains (and they probably wont) then they'll go under and rent will fall and local businesses will be able to afford the rents again. It's called the Free Market System. Look it up!

say it plain

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

lol. spoken like true non-property-*leveragers* you mean, trying to extract profit from the 'owning' of property as landlords do. Maintenance and taxes ain't free lol. Yeah I'm sure there's no profit associated with being a landlord, they are philanthropists all ;-) Chains of course have tentacle-like pockets, right? Able to withstand a little loss here and there in the name of overall market share, no? Totally different animal in terms of ability to make outrageous rents in a down economy, no? It's called complexity in markets, "free" as some want to claim they are...doesn't have wiki page, but you can learn about it nonetheless ;-)

Jimmy McNulty

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

All right! Let's hear it for MEDIOCRE coffee! This is the special kind of brew you can usually only get while using the drive-thru at a co-located Wendy's.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

Comments on this article today are really funny! Got my full dose of laughter reading about people scandalized that a local coffee shop is being replaced by a "chain". IS there a bigger coffee shop chain than Starbucks (of the over roasted bitter coffee)? Yet they seem to have little difficulty in filling up their shops with coffee drinkers eager to get their daily fix. So, go ahead, elitists, and boycott the chain stores -- the stores that provide things our local population (including students) need at an acceptable price -- and are staffed by local people.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

well i don't know about stephen, but i find the mindless and reflexive demonization of chain stores silly and unconstructive

Anne Gillies

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

Lab is also always full like Starbucks is. I can't speak for everyone else condemning Tim Hortons, but I have never gone to Starbucks downtown and go to lab frequently. I don't even understand what point you're trying to make - that we're hypocrites? The people bemoaning Tim Hortons in the comments here are NOT, in fact, the same people as the "coffee drinkers eager to get their daily fix" that swarm Starbucks. And the local, independently owned coffee shops also hire local people, and have items at an acceptable price. I'm so glad our desire for quality and customer service (the owners and baristas at lab are lovely) is so hilarious to you.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

lol - agree - these comments remind me of the characters in Portlandia fretting about the lifestyle of the chicken they're about to eat

Anne Gillies

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

This is terrible! lab is my favorite coffee shop in town, and I love their frozen yogurt. The baristas are so lovely, always recognize me and greet me with a smile, and I've had several great chats with one of the owners, Toby (standing in the picture up there). I had a suspicion lab wasn't necessarily long for this world, but I'm very disappointed for it to be replaced by yet another chain. lab has its own atmosphere and personality, with the art films on the wall and quirky music, and I'll be very sad to see it go.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Half the problem is the building owners are people or corporations (oops, corporations are people) that live out of town and care not one lick for culture, community or heritage. MONEY, that is all. As quick as possible, by ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Pollute, destroy, displace, it does not matter. The only way to vote is with you WALLET. I do not and will not, knowingly, willingly give my money to any chain, unless I have no other choice (gas, electric, darned Comcast). Do not support the homogenization of Ann Arbor, let alone the U.S. or the world. Shaft the corporations and their stockholders for providing us with mass culture mindlessness while destroying our community; American Idle indeed.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

say it plain: I would argue that if Lucky Drugs had been chain-owned instead of a-guy-owned, Downtown Ann Arbor would have been a lot better served when that a-guy got in trouble.

say it plain

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

@Angry Moderate oversimplifies of course...chains can survive in retail environments where independents cannot, and downtown Ann Arbor is becoming one of those places. Sad. Lab was always full, but probably still couldn't make it work with whatever ransom the landlords were asking. But Tim Horton's can pay anything the 'lords demand, woohoo. Sure, even chains can't survive if they don't have product that people will buy. And I love Tim Horton's coffee when I'm on a road trip, or even just generally. But their food is garbage, they are pretty characterless you must admit, and now we get to have one right downtown, near the seven-eleven and the cvs and it just feels so very blah and icky. The panhandlers can stretch their coffee dollars now though, for sure!

Angry Moderate

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

You realize that people voting with their wallets is exactly why chains are successful, right?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

No matter what you think about Tim Horton's, it's wonderful that something will finally replace the burned out Golden Chef property. Ugh.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

I have missed Tim Ho's since it left the basement of the Michigan league. Never went into coffee lab. A win for me. I just have to keep to 1 donut/week.

Britain W.

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Hmm: Horton's left the League a few years ago, I think it was around the time Horton's was spun off from Wendy's corporate. It was replaced by a generic-y pizza place that was itself replaced by Taco Bell in fall of 2008. Taco Bell seems to be thriving there. I think it fills a $CHEAP$ and ready-now niche that is unserved by the six-dollar-burrito places or the excellent Mexican restaurants downtown.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

When Did Tim's leave the League?

Brian M.

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

This would make sense if Borders were still across the street. As is, I wonder who they think they're going to appeal to. It seems to me Starbucks would appeal more to anyone thinking about going to Tim Horton's. I suppose the doughnuts will sell. Wherever lab moves, they will retain most of their customer base I imagine... If anything I would be worried if I were Biggby.

Basic Bob

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

I would not put Biggby and Timmys in the same category. Timmy's is stiff competition for the 24-hour gas stations.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

I forgot about Biggby... Starbucks, Biggby and then Tim Hortons all within a block of each other.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

I am such a pure Ann Arborite that I would rather see an empty storefront than a chain. In fact, let's boycott all chains in downtown Ann Arbor. Let's see -- American Apparel, Five Guys.... um .... 7-11 ... Panera ... Borders (oh... never mind) .... that'll learn 'em


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

sparty - guess you went to state? - perhaps you should hone your sarcasm-detecting skills - my point was that it's a stupid attitude to be against chains just because they're chains -- what did you study, ag?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

That's clever ... empty storefronts don't employ people, don't pay their salaries, or taxes, or rent, etc. "That'll learn 'em"? Clearly not a UM student or graduate. Perhaps you should attend though.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

I've only been to a Tim Horton's on the Turnpike - and if I visit them again that's where it will be. Downtown needs a national chain like we need another bike lane...


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

BOOOOO! This sucks. Tim Horton's sucks. Join me in the boycott, oh people of (any) intelligence. Tim Horton's sells absolute garbage food, prettied up and chemically engineered not to seem so crappy. Don't eat it, they are hurting the planet!


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

That's a very bigoted, ignorant statement. Tim Horton's did not appear in Food Inc. Lumping them with all others is narrow-minded. Boycott them if you like, but it doesn't justify your propaganda campaign.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

You are asking for evidence that a major fast food chain engineers their food to make it more palatable and appealing? Time for you to watch fast food inc and get learned. If you can't tell, and eat most other types of fast food also, I feel sorry for ya. Enjoy diabetes! :P


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Who needs evidence when mere allegations suffice?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.


rusty shackelford

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Soon only Disney DollarsĀ® will be accepted in A2. Sucks. lab was good and almost always full. Shows people will pay a little more ($2 at lab vs. like $1.60 at starbucks) for a place that's local and tasteful.

Dave Sullivan

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

When Taco Bell and McDOnald's left downtown I thought there was hope....not so much anymore.

Jim Deakins

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

lab is my favorite coffee house in Ann Arbor. I hope they find a new home asap. And not to get off topic, but seriously guys? No good donuts? Washtenaw Dairy Dimos Welcome to Ann Arbor, feel free to look around.

Jessica Webster

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Anne - Sweetwaters carries Washtenaw Dairy donuts. They're delicious!

Anne Gillies

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

As someone who lives in Kerrytown, works in between med school and central campus, and walks everywhere, those locations are terribly inconvenient. There's nothing actually downtown. Condescension isn't necessary!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

Oh yeah, Dimo's black-raspberry jelly donuts are awesome (not to mention their gigantic sandwiches...mmm) Washtenaw Dairy: gotta have the cinnamon-sugar or plain cake donuts.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Soon Ann Arbor will be Anytown, USA... A lot of this can be attributed to the DDA and city council who have help foster a commercial real estate bubble, whereas landlords now believe they sit on goldmines because "Air-rights" are becoming the new speculative commodity. Thanks King John

Angry Moderate

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Could you explain how the landlord's air rights caused one coffee shop to be replaced with another coffee shop? Thanks.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Soon? Ann Arbor is so beige it hurts. And this is not new. This has been the case for decades. I'll keep spending my time and money in Ypsilanti and Detroit.

Skylar Woodman

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

I'm truly hoping this is premature and ultimately incorrect. Horrible news if factual.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! What will all the hipsters do now? I guess Comet will get an upshot in customers. Tim Hortons in downtown A2, good luck!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

well, what I usually do...make my own at home...LOL and I don't make donuts very often but do bake my own coffee cakes and banana bread, etc to have at work...I guess that makes me a mean person by denying a barrista a long term if a Sir Wilfred's from Lahaina were to open in downtown...that would be a different story!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

More importantly, what will all of us uncool people who appreciate good coffee do?

Bertha Venation

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

Glad the one is going in Maple Village. There's not a descent doughnut shop on our side of town, AND.... I can make it there and back on one charge!

Bertha Venation

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Ya know.. I forgot all about Dimos! You're right. I should give them a try. Thanks!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

You don't like Dimo's? The service can be a little brusque, but the donuts are great.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

Margaret Elizabeth...great point! However, the folks who own the retail space in downtown Ann Arbor only "care" about the small businesses until a corporate giant approaches them with deep pockets and offers them more rent. Many of these national chain restaurants, or in this case, national chain coffee and pastry shops, can run these stores as "loss leaders" just to get a foothold in downtown Ann Arbor. The real culprit, in my humble opinion, is the landlords...yeah...greed is good...blah, blah,blah...and the landlords will say "whoever pays us the most rent can rent the's between the two renting parties...not us." Just for this reason I support the local businesses and not the big box stores or national chain restaurants.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

Dukdust, I have worked int eh restaurant industry for over 25 years. I have worked with chains from the size of McDonald's on down. Tell me what FRANCHISEE (the actual person putting up the MONEY) is willing to lose money because a corporate moron wants a location? McDonald's had a location very near that same spot years ago. It was not making money. Imagine that, it CLOSED. Why? Why didn't they just keep it as a loss leader as you claim these corporations do? The only sane argument that can be made, is as they get more units, their cost per unit decreases because they buy in larger quantities, they can share marketing resources, and are generally speaking a more stable tenant. If you were the landlord, would you lease your space to the guy who has $1000 in the bank and no other form of income other than the coffee shop, or would you rather go with the company that has millions in assets and cash in the bank, and can handle slow periods with finds from other locations.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

Dukdust, you think that fast food franchises in Ann Arbor are losing money instead of making a profit, and doing it on purpose? Lol, that is not what a loss leader is.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Johnnya2...I will give you a few points but, as a businessman who works with chain restaurants I can tell you this is their thought: Tim Hortons wants a footprint in A2; the franchisee for this area (the person who owns the rights to build Tim Hortons Restaurants in a geographical area) will build as many locations as possible to maximize his profit...but here is the rub...I would beat someone at the corporate office has said "wouldn't it be neat to have a location in downtown Ann Arbor because, according to our market studies, even though we might not do as well as the other locations, we have access to the student population who will remember our brand as they mature..."just sayin..

Some Guy in 734

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

johnnya2: I know it's not what you mean by "If lab were properly capitalized", but that was one of the things that bugged me about them. And I know different people have different tastes, but I always thought that place looked like a cleanroom, and I never felt compelled to trouble them with my desire for a cup of joe. Does anyone know if it's an issue of lab not being able to afford the lease, or is it a Big Bad Corporation snatching the rug out from under 'em?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Above is another example of economic Darwinism that chants the corporate mantra "Grow or die". Worked well with Riders now, didn't it!?!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Absolutely WRONG. No corporate entity runs a location as a "loss leader". Do you really believe they plan to come into Ann Arbor, sell donuts/coffee cheaper than any other location, and then raise prices once they have a "foothold". The thing chains and multi-units have over mom and pops is proper capitalization. They understand that they are in a cyclical market that changes with the seasons. They are also in a college town which will have bebs and flows in business based on what week of the year it is. If lab were properly capitalized and could sustain the volume needed they could easily have spent the extra on the lease. They either made a decision not to, or they couldn't. Why is that bad in any way? Guess what, almost every single business would happily grow to be a huge chain like a Dominos or Borders did as local businesses. But I bet if you look at businesses started at the same time as them, how many do you think are still in business? It is not the faultt of the chains, it is their fault for not keeping up with the times.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

Nutella macarons?? Must have!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Cecilia sells her macarons at the Farmer's Market. Here's her website; I'm a fan of the nutella macaron, too! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

It's about time this town had a few proper doughnut shops!

John Baker

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 8 p.m.

How about Washetenaw Dairy? Or if that's too far out of your way, Pastry Peddler? This is sad news. Lab was committed to quality coffee, and sold local bakeries' goods.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

wow, ridiculous: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and most local coffee shops will carry these donuts fresh or their own baked goods..


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

People complain about 'parking' being the reason they won't go downtown anymore. For me, it's this.

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

I love THo! Can't wait for this to open :)

Margaret Elizabeth

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

This is terrible, terrible news. What is becoming of Ann Arbor? I thought we cared about our small businesses. I don't like the way that year after year more franchises take over the character of our small town. I can't believe it: Lab was always full!

Angry Moderate

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

Who are you blaming? You were free to spend more of your money there and make them a profit if you liked it so much.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Seems to me city hall is helping chase local business out

Townie Kid

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

That's a drag...really hope that this was a decision made by lab owners and not a situation in which they were forced out of a lease...


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

This just bums me out so much. lab is my favorite coffee spot. Another great independent business bites the dust to make room for a cookie-cutter corporate clone.


Wed, Mar 14, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Eh, Tim Hortons is better anyway.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

Yes, I think that was plan along. You didn't think a small coffee shop could pay these high rent price forever?