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Posted on Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 5:50 a.m.

Shopper raises question about store closing in Ypsilanti Township's Paint Creek Crossing

By Laura Blodgett


Kroger anchors the Paint Creek Crossing Shopping Center, located on Whittaker Road in Ypsilanti Township since 2001.

Laura Blodgett | For

Some regulars of the Paint Creek Crossing Shopping Center on Whittaker Road in Ypsilanti Township have noticed that there have been two store closing there since summer, and that worries them.

The Heelz Plus women's boutique is the latest closing, following Hershey Ice Cream over the summer.

“It definitely is a problem for me,” says Christine Chie, an Essential Bodywear representative who did business with the boutique as well as a regular at the Curves fitness center there.

“These stores say they have business but not enough business, and the landlord won’t do any adjustments on rent.”

Chie warns there is a trickledown effect when so many storefronts close that affects shoppers and other merchants.

“If you close Curves, then there’s no sense for me to go Kroger there anymore. It’s about convenience. It’s too bad; it’s just a terrible loss for me. I just don’t understand why the landlord would rather close the stores than lower the rent and have the customers?”

But what may be a trend for one customer doesn't necessarily point to a location with an escalating problem, the landlord says.

For his part, Josh Grenadier, part owner of Paint Creek Crossing on Whittaker Road, says the shopping center's trends mimic Grenadier Properties' other retail centers in Metro Detroit.

“Those stores shutting, like Heelz, is nothing out of the ordinary. We’ve had a few of the tenants leave, but most of the tenants are original. It’s been pretty stable with only about four stores closing over the last three years," he said.

"I think that’s pretty good, especially since we’ve also picked up that many new tenants.”

Grenadier says that because of the economy, he and his management team has worked with individual tenants on rent issues if need be but “if the business can make money, they’ll succeed; if they can’t, then they have to close.”

As the market has softened over the last few years, the 180,000-square-foot center's rental rates have steadily come down and are currently priced at $14-15 per square foot.

“However, lowering the rent is really miniscule when it comes to the commitment to open a business,” says Grenadier. “The difference of a dollar a square foot is like $20 a month.”

There have been some new tenants in the last few months, Including My Doggie’s Grooming Salon & Boutique. In addition, Kroger continues to do very well there, he said.

Open since 2001, there are currently about 10 vacancies of various sizes ranging from 1,200 square feet to 6,500 square feet.

Grenadier says they would love to add more clothing stores in some of the open space to create a pocket of clothing stores together, but “it’s really a measure of what residents around there demand.”


Ann English

Tue, Feb 15, 2011 : 12:01 a.m.

I don't know the area, but it does remind me how Gene Butman's and a Rite Aid drugstore in Pittsfield Township are accessible via three roads and how the new Walgreen's is accessible from both Jackson and Abbott roads. Was Hershey Ice Cream unionized, like Hershey, Pennsylvania original plant employees are? I wouldn't expect the different chocolate shop startups in downtown Ann Arbor in the past few years would draw away ICE CREAM customers from southeastern Ypsilanti. I have a relative and in-law who don't like the customer service at the Kroger nearest them either, so they shop at Busch's.


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

I shop at the Paint Creek Crossing Kroger every week, but have never been to any of the other stores in that lot. I don't know that I've even ever driven past the Kroger. It's scary enough dodging traffic and crossing the parking lot. The lot really does need improved traffic flow and better spaces for pedestrians. I usually feel like I might have to fight a car to get from Kroger to my car. It's sure better than the Carpenter Kroger though!


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

I agree that the lay out of this shopping center is not very inviting. What really stops me from going to "Paint Creek Crossing" is that the anchor store, Kroger, has the worst customer service in the area. If Kroger was more of a draw for me I would be there more often and most likely notice and then shop at the other stores in the plaza. But from the moment you pull into their parking lot its a crappy experience. The odd parking lot bothers me first, then its the grumpy workers smoking out front, onto the uninformed and untrained deli and meat counter employees, and then onto the slow, grumpy, rude and disheveled check out and bagging staff. I never shop there anymore. Ever.


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.

That entire shopping center is a mess... the poorest layout for shoppers I have ever seen. I try to avoid it whenever possible. We used to like to once in a while get take-out from the Chinese restaurant - but now it is such a nightmare most of the time why bother. The loss of Hershey's is sad. They sponsored the local baseball programs for kids and we would take our teams there after games. I guess the construction last year of the roundabout was too much of a hardship for them.


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Commercial rents are calculated annually. So $15/sq ft is multiplied by the total square footage and then divided by 12 months for the monthly rent payment. But even using that formula the owners comment only flies for a space that is a mere 240 square feet. Don't know many stores that are that small :) It doesn't make sense to have a space empty and receive nothing when the landlord could lower the rent and at least receive something. Seems silly that the landlord wouldn't attempt to work something out...even if it was temporary.


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

The reason NOT to lower the rent is it then sets the new market,. Also most leases are not year to year. If the retail environment changed, the landlord can not tell the business they are raising he rent. It works both ways. The business KNEW the terms prior to signing the lease.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

"Commercial rents are calculated annually. So $15/sq ft is multiplied by the total square footage and then divided by 12 months for the monthly rent payment" I learned something new today.


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

"However, lowering the rent is really miniscule when it comes to the commitment to open a business," says Grenadier. "The difference of a dollar a square foot is like $20 a month." How does that math work? If I had a 2,000 sq ft store and you cut the rent $1 per sq ft, that's $2,000... How does that turn into $20?


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

It isnt $20 per month as stated, but rents are based on $1 per sq ft peer YEAR. He was quoting a monthly cost. So a 1200 sq ft store pays $16,800 per year in rent at $14 per sq ft or $1400 per month. That same store at $15 per sq foot is $18,000 per year or $1500 per month. If $100 per month is your tipping point as a business, then there are plenty of retail locations that might be better suited for your business. If the landlord was intelligent, a certain % of vacancy is built into their business model. If he starts lowering rent for one, then what does he do when existing tenants (KROGER) decide they want to cry poverty and lower their rent? I guarantee there are apartments in Ann Arbor right now that are vacant. The landlord could easily drop their rent to $100 just to get SOME money. The problem is, as you lower your price, you set the market for all future leases.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet but I thought the same thing on the $1reduction math. It only works out for the guy/gal with a 20 square foot store. Thats smaller than my bathroom.


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

A2- I agree. Any of my kids (17,12,4) could ascertain that. This guy has ran out two owners that I personally know because he was unwilling to lower their rent. A $1 per sq/ft is huge. I'm sure the high profile businesses such as Aubree's, Kroger and the 2 outlots get great deals. It is small business that makes our country work. What a fool. I would much rather have lower rent, my storefronts full, than to have empty space that doesn't draw customers. It reminds me of Gault Village. The Sunrise shopping center on Holmes Rd is full. I wonder why? Because the owner is willing to sacrifice a few dollars to make sure goods and services the people want are available. A fool and his $ are soon parted__Thomas Tusser 1557


Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

Maybe if it wasn't such a nightmare to navigate the parking lot there, stores could stay open. I avoid that location for anything at all costs. There's a new road behind the center but it's not open yet. Maybe that will alleviate some of it, but the parking lot is not big enough to accommodate the Kroger, let alone all the other stuff that's there.