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Posted on Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea to open Ypsilanti location in March

By Katrease Stafford

Related story: Insomnia Cookies coming to Ypsilanti's Cross Street

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea will open its first Ypsilanti location this month, said owner Lisa Bee.


Sweetwaters will open its Ypsilanti location this month at 735 W. Cross Street.

Tom Perkins | For

Wei and Lisa Bee signed a lease last November to open in the 1,300-square-foot building at 735 W. Cross St.

Bee said they haven't set an exact opening date, but she hopes to open by March 20.

Bee has hired about 15 people to staff the Ypsilanti location.

"We've hired all of the staff and they've been trained at the downtown store," Bee said.

Bee said during the past few years, she's visited several Ypsilanti shops and thought the city would be a good place to expand into.

"We’ve been going to different new places that have opened up in Ypsi and it seems Ypsi is kind of up-and-coming," Bee said. "The residents and community are open to really good food and drinks."

Bee also said the location of the building, which is right across from the Eastern Michigan University campus, also was a factor in the decision.

Bee said the shop underwent renovations and will seat between 30 and 40 patrons. The space will feature one large communal table and smaller ones as well.

"We re-did the interior," Bee said. "The other thing that’s nice about Ypsi is design-wise, it's not as conservative. We were able to do some fun stuff."

Bee said the interior will have an "industrial" look to it, but she didn't want to provide too many details prior to the shop opening.

"I don’t want to ruin the surprise," Bee said. "But it’s a really cute store, we never want to be cookie cutter and never want all of the stores to be the same. Overall it has a different feeling."

The menu offerings will largely be the same and feature BakeBar desserts, which are made by Sweetwaters. Bee said 90 percent of the cakes and desserts already sold at her other Sweetwaters locations are BakeBar, but she plans to use the Ypsilanti location to test out new products.


The Ypsilanti Sweetwaters location will have a few new baked goods offerings.

Mary Bilyeu| contributor

"Ypsilanti will be the test run," Bee said. "We will be supplying all of the desserts for all of the Sweetwaters and testing out some new products in Ypsilanti. We've always been wanting to bake our own desserts... It just seems like the palate of Ypsilanti residents seems to be a bit more adventurous."

Bee said the Ypsilanti location will have an initial soft opening, followed by a grand opening two to three weeks later.

"We just can't wait," Bee said. "I think our staff are just champing at the bit to open up... We're super excited."

Sweetwaters was founded in 1993 and has three locations in Ann Arbor: one on East Washington Street downtown, one in Kerrytown and one on Plymouth Road.

This stretch of Cross Street will see the opening of two restaurants in the span of two months. Sweetwaters will open in March, just one month before Insomnia Cookies, which is slated to open some time in April.

The recently renovated building at 729-735 W. Cross St., is already home to two, first floor retail tenants — a Subway sandwich shop and the Ypsilanti T-shirt Co. shop.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

More good news for Ypsi! Now, let's all get off our butts and drive/run/walk/bike over there and make sure we support people who decide to open their small businesses in our town! Because they can't survive on congratulations and compliments alone!


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Wonderful! Sweetwaters will be a very welcome solid class act local business! Great News! Slowly with more solid clean businesses like this and Beezy's Ypsi can realize its potential as a great little college town.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

Welcome and good luck. Ypsilanti is growing finally. Thanks for reporting on the good things happening to our city.

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Oooooooh how I DO love a spot of tea. There are many lovely places now. So many in fact that Ypsilanti will soon be known only for its tea and short breads and crumpets and scones. But ALAS! As of yet there are no merchants peddling in my beloved frilly shirts. Oh I could never part with my olde ones I'm sure. But they are missing that lustre they had when I was but a boy; gallivanting beneath the streetlights, stopping into all the quaint boutiques and sampling their wares. Oh, sirrah it was enough to have my head swimming beneath my powdered wig.


Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

I think this is meant to be funny and sarcastic. I wish it were written clearly enough to make it clear what you're trying to be funny about.

Crusader 53

Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Perhaps you could tear yourself away from the key board and open up a frilly shirt/powdered wig shop for you and your friends to get the latest fashions in frilly shirts and powdered wigs. Like, right next to the tea shop. Put that keen interest in that type of fashion to work for yourself and the community. Who knows, it could be the next big fashion statement/movement .


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Great. The Ugly Mug could use some competition. Maybe it will improve those genius hipster "baristas" attitudes and customer service.

EMU Prof

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

LOL Dublin!

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

It's hard being a genius hipster in a college town. So much competition.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

More great news for the campus area and Ypsilanti!


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Well,I will say the grammar comments are the most polite ones I've ever seen here


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Thanks for the update, Katrease!

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

No problem! It's exciting to report about all of the new businesses opening in Ypsilanti.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

Another grammar alert: Its location -- possessive. It's is a contraction of It is. Therefore, the photo caption should read, "Its location." That said, YEAH for favorite is their Ginger Lemon drink, hot or cold.

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

You are correct, Salbolal. Thanks for catching the typo. I'll have to try that ginger drink. Sounds yummy!

Matt Lang

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

I wish we could get Del Taco, Sonic Drive-in, Fuddruckers, and Toast to all come to the area, As well as some of those food trucks from Detroit to visit us.


Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

I'm with you on the food trucks--only I'd like to see them be locally owned. That would be a great addition to the Ypsi Eats scene! But can't get behind the chains, which do very little for any local economy. They don't buy their ingredients locally and all the profits go back to Corp Central, wherever that is, rather than to the local economy.

Denise Anderson

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

I loved the Fuddrucker's that was near me when I lived in another state.

Jack Gladney

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Spelling/Grammar Police Alert: The word is "champing" not "chomping." One means to be eager; the other means to chew noisily.


Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Well Jack Gladney, technically, both forms are considered acceptable ( Also, it was used in a quoted statement; if "chomping" is what the woman said, then the reporter was correct in using "chomping" in the quote.

Katrease Stafford

Sat, Mar 9, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Thanks for pointing it out, Jack. It's been corrected.