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Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

'Dated' gas station on Ann Arbor-Saline Road may add coffee shop

By Lizzy Alfs

The owner of a Shell gas station on Ann Arbor-Saline Road wants to convert the station's car wash to more retail space, construct an addition and potentially add a coffee and pastry shop.

The station, located at 2679 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, sits on a 1.44-acre site at the corner of Eisenhower Parkway near the Cranbrook Village Shopping Center. It was built in 1995.

Site plans submitted to the City of Ann Arbor call to construct a 2,189-square-foot addition, convert the 900-square-foot car wash area to retail space, reconfigure the parking lot and increase the parking spaces from 9 to 16. Plans include a provision for a coffee and pastry shop.

The property is registered to Abraham Ajrouch, who purchased it in 1996 for $660,000, according to city documents. Ajrouch is working with William Goodreau of Civil Design Services based in Fowlerville, Mich.

Ajrouch estimates that eliminating the car wash facility would reduce traffic count by 70 to 100 per day, according to the plans.

There was a citizen participation meeting for the project on Dec. 16.

Although there is no lease signed yet for a coffee shop to operate out of the additional space, Goodreau said that’s the ideal plan.

“[Ajrouch] wants to leave a small portion on the north side for that.”

The reason for the project, Goodreau said, is to make a more “modern facility” out of a “dated gas station.”

“I think [Ajrouch] will doll it up a little more than the old, existing gas station,” he said.

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



Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

I'd be in favor of this if it was turned into a Wawa.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:30 p.m.

This station routinely violates the City's sign ordinances (but never seems to get nailed) so I can just imagine all the illegal signage he'll toss up to advertise his coffee shop. He has flags, stick in the ground signage, etc. all over the place. I think he must own some of the other Shell stations around since they all routinely trample the sign ordinances (for example, the one at Platt and Ellsworth) that looks like a carnival most of the time. Hope the City will remind him of the ordinances before letting him go wild - even more.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Adding plain retail space may not gain customers from I-94 since there's a 24 hour Meijers across the highway. I haven't noticed if there are highway signs there listing Meijer and 24 hours, but I've noticed the Meijer signs near the Zeeb Road Meijers. While freshly baked doughnuts, muffins, brownies, etc.. would be nice, would the volume make it profitable for the station owner. That's especially true of the hours when the nearby retail places are open. A station built in 1995 doesn't seem old to me. To some, having a good auto technician on the premises might lead to more customer demand and profits. IMHO, adding business is good, but avoid spending money on alternations that don't bring profits.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

The guy has free air...I'll visit his coffee shop.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

The station and pumps (and prices) look pretty modern to me. It can be a real pain to get in and out of there at that busy corner.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

I have no idea if this plan will be a commercial success, but I do know that's got to be the WORST car wash I've ever used!


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

That corner would be a great place for a Tim Horton's. The owner should look into that.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

I'd be all over that! A donut shop is needed in that area.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Great Idea! Say... whatever happened to the Tim Hortons that was going to go into Maple Village next to English Gardens? Anyone know?

Ann English

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

I've used that station's car wash and air pump before, even helping a foreign couple who didn't understand how to use the AUTOMATIC car wash for their dirty van. I can envision the Shell station at State and Eisenhower getting the car wash patrons that this station will lose. The next nearest car washes are Zippy's on Ellsworth east of State and one on South Industrial Highway.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

I personally am OK with this. I do love Whole Foods and Panera, but it would be nice to fill up and get a good cup of coffee and a pastry at the same time. That is as long as it is great coffee/pastries, and not just more gas station coffee and packaged danishes placed in a larger space that is designed to look like a nice coffee shop. (As we all know, gas station coffee is often quite nasty.) For convenience sake, I just might take advantage of it. Good luck to Mr. Ajrouch.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Drive thru coffee would be great there but you can't turn left back onto A2 Saline from the lot.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

You just make a right onto Eisenhower then a left on to A2-Saline. Not that tough.

West of Main

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Sure you can. It's tricky, but possible.

Linda Peck

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

Most of the comments are negative in response to the idea of having a nice coffee shop in a gas station. I like the idea. I may visit. It is a different view from over your cup, eh? Hopefully the smell of gas will not permeate the inside of the shop, but yes, I think people will visit it. There may be other coffee shops nearby, but doing two things at one stop is something people like.

Tom Teague

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Well said.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

I patronize this gas station when I am in its corner of town and need a fill-up, but in maybe 60 visits over the last five years, I have never been inside. I have used the car wash, though. A larger "convenience store" for the Interstate warriors might make sense, but with a Panera and a Whole Foods both almost adjacent, and a Bigby in one direction and a McDonalds and a pancake house/coney island in another, the expansion should be carefully focused...

West of Main

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

The inside of this Shell station is awfully small. I understand wanting to expand retail space, but the addition of a coffee shop seems out-of-place here. Rethink this, Ajrouch.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

"Ajrouch estimates that eliminating the car wash facility would reduce traffic count by 70 to 100 per day". Why would you want to expand your business, then reduce your traffic count?. I would think by expanding to include yet another coffee and pastry shop that you would want to increase your appeal and the people visiting your business and thus the traffic count should and would hopefully go up!?

Tom Teague

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Without seeing Mr. Ajrouch's business plan I can't say for certain, but my guess is that he's figured that the loss of financial return on those 70 to 100 visits each day will be more than offset by the additional financial return on expanded retail. In general, selling a loss leader is okay for driving traffic. But if the loss leader buyers don't purchase anything else, it's just loss. So maybe he has hit the tipping point with car wash costs and maintenance. I wish him luck with the expansion.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Yes! Another coffee shop in the city! But if the landowner is willing to put forth the effort, why not?

Bertha Venation

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

hmmm. I've never dated a gas station. I used to date a lot in me younger days... but NEVER a gas station. ;)

Bertha Venation

Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

Instead of eliminating the car wash, they could save space by converting it into a drive through HoverRound wash... Heck... I'd go! :)


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Who hangs out at a gas station coffee shop? Whole Foods is right next to it, the hipsters and pseudo-intellectuals will discuss all the bands they like that you've never heard of there instead.


Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

Yeah, because most people want to socialize with coffee snobs. The only people worse are wine/beer snobs.