You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Rising rents, competition drive owner of decades-old White Market to close Ann Arbor store

By Lizzy Alfs

Citing high rental rates and retail competition, the owner of downtown Ann Arbor’s White Market plans to close his store at the end of the month.

Dave Jones, who purchased the business at 609 E. William St. in 1984, said the landlord of the building did not renew White Market’s lease after finding a new tenant for the space.

“(The owner of the building) was able to get a tenant that pays more than twice what we were paying,” Jones said. “I have been working all year to try and find another location and I failed. We have to be out; there is no other choice.”


Dave Jones plans to close his downtown Ann Arbor market at the end of the month. file photo

The 6,500-square-foot building at 607-609 E. William St. — which also includes the former College Shoe Repair space and five student apartments on the second-floor — was sold in September 2011.

According to city documents, Costas Boutsikakis purchased the building for $1.5 million.

For years, the building was owned through a partnership between the owners of the College Shoe Repair and the former owners of The White Market. College Shoe Repair went out of business in December 2010, and the building was listed for sale for $2.5 million with Colliers International’s Ann Arbor office.

Jones said he was hoping to work out a deal with the new landlord, even though his rental rates remained low in the high-rent South State Street retail corridor adjacent to the University of Michigan campus. He was aware the new landlord was considering other tenant options.


A newly remodeled White Market, pictured in 1948.

Ann Arbor News file photo


A recent photo of the College Shoe Repair and White Market building, which was sold in September 2011 for $1.5 million.

Photo from Colliers

Jones estimated he was paying $20 to $25-per-square-foot. Colliers listed both the former College Shoe Repair and White Market spaces for $40 per square foot.

In a downtown area with top-paying tenants like Starbucks and 7-Eleven, Jones' rental rate is significantly lower than the average $35 to $45-per-square-foot many tenants in the area pay. Just down the street, the first-floor of student high-rise Zaragon West was listed for $42-per-square-foot.

“I mean, (the landlord) would have taken some loss on the whole building to have kept (White Market) at a reasonable rental rate, but that’s his prerogative,” Jones said. “What are you going to do? I don’t like it, but he certainly has that right.”

Boutsikakis and Jim Chaconas of Colliers International did not respond to requests for comment. It’s unclear what type of tenant may replace White Market.

Permits pulled with the City of Ann Arbor indicate there is some activity at the former College Shoe Repair space, which was cleared out, and had garbage removed and windows replaced, according to documents.

White Market was able to survive decades in downtown Ann Arbor, even as the retail market changed considerably in that neighborhood.

It has become a prime area for student traffic with the opening of University of Michigan’s North Quad in 2010, and the most recent opening of Zaragon West just down the street from the market.

Businesses such as Pitaya clothing boutique, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, 7-Eleven and CVS all opened in the past couple years. Ritz Camera and Cosi closed.

Jones said business at White Market — which was once one of the only full-service stores in downtown Ann Arbor — fell as more competition opened nearby, including the CVS, Tower Mini Market and babo. Tower Mini Market, located on Maynard Street, has since closed.

But he said he’s experienced a rebound in sales the past couple months.

“We have people coming in,” he said. “It’s not from a lack of business. Business could be better, but sales were starting to come back. We were actually up in sales for June a little bit.”

The plan, he said, was to either sell his business or find a new, smaller location — both of which didn’t work out.

“I guess I was optimistic to the end that we would come up with an alternative,” he said. “I had a plan in place to continue this operation way beyond me, but it was totally predicated on getting a space, which I guess just wasn’t meant to be.”

A sign at the business says it will close on Aug. 25, but Jones said he could remain open for a week after that depending on how things go.

Reflecting on his many years in business, Jones said he’d like to thank the countless customers who have supported him.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at “I’ve always enjoyed coming to work almost every day and I’ve loved it,” he said. “Our customers have always been exciting and we’ve enjoyed it.”



Sat, Aug 11, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

OK, we all understand Ann Arbor real estate realities, but still it's sad to see an old friend leave. Just a couple of weeks ago I found a letter my mother wrote to my father, who was serving in the Pacific during World War II, in which she bragged about finding MEAT when even her mother hadn't been able to get any. Where did she find it? At White Market! Look around downtown - there are so few long established places left. But while we're on the topic, Happy 85th Birthday, Caravan!

Madeleine Borthwick

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

It's heartbreaking to see this happen....I have been accused being a "bleeding heart" more than once. For the record: I'd rather have a "bleeding heart" than none at all. not everything is about the mighty dollar, although that seems to be more and more the "gold standard"(?) these days. no apologies.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Why are people assuming the landlord is some 'rich guy from out of town' who has tons of money to buy the building with cash only to create chaos? Maybe he has mortgaged his whole life to take a chance on a property that could provide him with fututre income to support his family. What's wrong with that. The owner of White Market had the same opportunity to own the property but chose not to. Remember, market price is never set in stone, but rather what someone will pay. The new landlord obviously was unwilling to pay the list price for the property so he negotiated some kind of deal. The owner of the market is free to do the same fpr the property and the lease. This is the free market system at work. However, it is truly sad to see a long-time business leave the area.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Originally listed for 2.5 million, sold for 1.5 million... How does a listing agent miss the sale price by that much. That should tell you something.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

What that tells you is how inflated the realtors' listings are. Many listings for residential and commercial buildings are very high, and the selling price is much lower. Realtors are interested in making as much money as possible regardless of the actual value of a property.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

There are a lot of landlords around town that keep rental rates extremely reasonable. I'm not going to name them but many of them are located downtown and you'd be shocked at how low they are. Most of these landlords are local, have owned the buildings for decades, and are happy with where they are at. The problem is when something happens and they decide to sell, flipping everything and everyone on their heads. New owners have to pay their mortgages so they have to increase rents. If everyone here wants something to complain about, maybe they should complain about the realtor(s) that help set rates all over town. It is fairly obvious why rent has continued to go up over the years.

Glenn everingham

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

CEO of papa johns says obama care would cost 14 cents per pizza.Id gladly pay it to cover all americans with health care even though their pizzas arent my favorite.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

OK, so next time we all order pizzas from there, we'll tell to get that 14 cents from you.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Just so I understand, if a community raises taxes such that a business can no longer afford to remain, that is horrible atrocity, even if the community needs that revenue to provide services. If a DDA raises parking rates it is a near crime. If a landlord doubles the rent on a decades old business that is just the way it works and we should all shut up. While taxes certainly drive rental rates the price of the property on the market has much more to do with rental rates. Many of the people defending the landlord are some of the same people that whine about how gentrified and "snooty" downtown A2 has become, and that they rarely go downtown anymore. They generally blame the City Council or the Mayor, not the people holding the deeds. Interesting.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Oh, it's ok, it's just "business"...another name for.....breach of trust, bribery, bribing, crime, crookedness, demoralization, exploitation, extortion, fiddling, fraud, fraudulency, graft, jobbery, malfeasance, misrepresentation, nepotism, on the take, payoff, payola, profiteering, racket, shadiness, shady deal, shuffle, skimming, squeeze, unscrupulousness, venality... Good bye Ann Arbor...bit by bit.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Dave Jones is a part of a local family (grocery) dynasty. He and his brothers Dwight and Dwayne worked for their father Shirley and the O'Sullivan clan about when they first could walk and they all worked at the Food and Drug Stores. Starting at the store (also gone) at the corner of Packard and Stadium and branching out. While I did not frequent White Market, I am absolutely certain it was all that people here, who appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit, said it was. MOREOVER, several years ago Dave Jones saved a woman's life, with no thought to the risk to his own life and limb (I believe she was drowing, and he jumped in and saved her). Knowing the Jones family, I am absolutely certain he didn't save this woman with any thought of being repaid, but it would seem now would be the time he could use some help finding a new store front. Ah, what Ann Arbor USED TO be.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 4:58 a.m.

First it was the Food and Drug Mart, then Village Corner, now White Market. Let us not forget places like Community News Center(one of the stores was across the street from Village Corner, Broadway Fried Chicken(that whole area which once included Kroger and CVS is now vacant), DeLong's(across from Farmer's Market), and Kapler Market which was on what is now Dhu Varren(it was a dirt road back in the 1980's); all gone. Sad, sad indeed.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

appreciate comment @Stephan Landes Took a work "Skills Test" that mapped me off the page edge as an abstract thinker versus other edge as practical doer. So I believe there may exist some edgy practical doers and that free ideas are like free beer to them. As for Ann Arbor, only when the U.S. population starts to decline will the city stop annexing land, deconstruct its green density plan, and depend upon living residents to set its sustainable value. What would a "scene change" back to say 1960 actually cost? Subtract the cost to advance only those desired today bits and what is left is lost Ann Arbor value. More people get the value they want and have more clout and green as the population subsides.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Dave and Darlene Jones are truly upstanding, outstanding people. They provide an invaluable service with such personal care for their customers (including even delivery customers, often who are elderly). White Market was truly one of those unique parts of Ann Arbor (run by uniquely genuine people) whose loss will be felt. The value of a place like White Market cannot be measured solely in dollars, and it's sad to see that, to some, that's the only value.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

Couldn't someone open a grocery store there and put Mr. Jones in charge? Where will everyone shop? Party stores are limited. I used to shop there for over a decade after I moved to that area for college and after. Great variety of items. Has deli/meat counter. Would order requested items. Staff helpful. Mr. Jones is a great guy! I wish you luck!

Stephen Landes

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

I'm as compassionate as anyone else writing on this subject, but I am not letting my compassion and appreciation for the owners of White's Market cloud my thinking. The owners have done a great job of following their dream, running a pretty successful business for 28 years, engaging with the community, building relationships -- in short, all the things a good businessman needs to do. However, all that work and good will (that is how a business values intangible assets) isn't going to be able to overcome the strong desire that people have to live, work, and go to school in Ann Arbor. Lots of people want to be part of this city: we should have some understanding of their wants and desires, too. As long as we choose to hold the growth pattern to what it is we are going to see property values rise -- no one is making more "Ann Arbor", so with limited supply the price increases. You can't have it both ways -- retaining the "character" of our town is going to cost money and that is likely to mean some of our long time favorite businesses are going to leave. In this case the property values caught up with White Market. Borders, Cosi, and others have gone away for other reasons. I've seen more businesses that I care about leave A2 in 43 years of living here than I care to remember. It has been sad to see them go, but whining about it and blaming cruel economics or landlords or some other phony issue isn't going to change the situation. Grow up and get used to change; make the best of it that you can; get some courage and strike out on your own to live your dream and prove to yourself (and others) that it can be done.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Actually a very well reasoned response. I shopped there all the way back to the 1960's and we'd all like to keep our wonderful memories of the Ann Arbor (s) that were, but business will pass on after they are no longer able to survive. New kinds of footwear have driven shoemakers and repairpeople out of business, digital cameras affect the older type of camera shop, etc. Those of us who are older will have to let go, even though it's hard and hold onto memory---the only "sure" form of immortality!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Right on!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

Suppose the capital free market were to account for "human value" (no, it doesn't). People could add or subtract monetary value of products and services by credit vote. People could also earn more or less monetary value by those demand side credit votes. Go into White's Market, pull out the cellphone and vote "like", or in the 7-11 "nolike", etc. Like google ad clicks, votes are worth instant cash to the supply side - maybe offseting the competition. Would Ann Arbor look any different using free market human value money?

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

And don't forget to only charge half of what it's worth.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

OK, you have designed a useful service. Now, get out there and create the app, market it, and get it used by a wide circle of people. Everything from buggy whips to social media tools started that way. There is nothing to prevent you from doing this. Just be ready for the President to say, "you didn't build that".

Ann English

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

I'm guessing it was a party store. The font used for White Market reminds me of the font used in White brand sewing products. There's enough showing in the background of Dave's photograph to tell me that it wasn't a store selling sewing products at all.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Groceries, deli/meat counter, the works.

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

A shame to see White's go....would like to see a small Whole Foods downtown...or some other type of organic food/grocery store. We also need another quality bookstore downtown, now that Border's is gone. Some of these national Starbucks...need to do more to promote local culture/art/music etc.....nothing but stamped out corporate art on the walls there. Like Starbuck's...but they need to buy and sell more local products.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

There's actually a place two blocks away started by a local business owner that has organic food and supports Michigan based companies.. I also don't see your point about "national chains" then wanting a Whole Foods downtown... Two of them less than 4 miles apart and a PLum market 4 miles in the other direction isn't enough for you?


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

and we will probably end up with another average to mediocre fast food type joint - nothing left to


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

How unfortunate that another Ann Arbor institution is disappearing. This town of ours... its charm, its quirkiness, its appeal, its character... was not built on the backs of CVS, 7-11, and Buffalo Wild Wings (with due respect to those fine businesses), folks. Ann Arbor is slowly becoming Anytown, USA. Also unfortunate: that a handful of you have to be such incredible jerks every time we see one of these mom-n-pop businesses close. We get it. There's nothing more important than you and your almighty dollar. But please, show an ounce of compassion... if you can.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

A2miguy, I could not agree with you more if I tried. I would vote you up a gazillion times if I could. unfortunately, compassion is on life support these days, if some of the posts I've read are any indication. some people seem to enjoy kicking other people when they're down. they. along with the greedy, money-grubbing owner, ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Wow, someone really did not like your posting. I did and I too agree with you. I am watching Ypsilanti mom and pops going by the way of Wal Greens and fast food. At least we have one mom and pop diner left near our home. We frequent that one more then a fast food. Thank you for this post.

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

I used to work in the neighborhood, and frankly am surprised it has lasted this long. Routinely I would go in there and find nobody at the registers. Eventually I put their number in my phone so I could call the store (that I was standing in) to alert them that someone was waiting to give them money. And very often in the summer, the cashier was a kid. That's not me being a geezer and saying that the employee was younger than me--I'm talking about a child. That never smelled quite right to me.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Man, this sucks. Can't say I didn't see it coming, but as an individual who lives near White Market and utilizes it more than once a week, I hate to see it go. I tried as much as possible to give it the business I could, but in the end it seems like they just couldn't compete on price. Good luck to the owner. BTW, he was one of the few shopowners to religiously shovel and salt the sidewalk in front of his establishment after every snow storm.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

The White Market was the very first Ann Arbor business I ever set foot into back in 1988. I came from the west side of the state to scope out possible apartments to rent while attending grad school at the UM, and I needed to buy a local newspaper (this was before the days of online newspapers), so I just happened upon the White Market. Sad to see it close. Wish the owners the best in the future.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

My family came to Ann Arbor back in the 70's. We found Campus Corners, Blue Front and Raphs Market to be the best place next to Whites Market in the area. Sadly, it all went downhill when Raphs Market closed, Blue Front became I am not sure what and Campus Corners sold out to the students. Gone are the days. Thanks for the post and the memories.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Kevin - I'm sure the landlord took that into consideration when he made a choice about the most efficient use of his own property. Not your property, his.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

It's also a gamble to keep a tenant that can't afford the going rate in the area--a store that most people just walk right past because the outside of it looks so unpleasant.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

Yes, the property owner has every right to use the building as he sees fit. The building owner knew all of this before purchasing... he knew the White Market would never be able to afford the market rate. So I also have every right to criticize him for pushing a business out that has occupied that location for the better part of a century. Like I said before, if he finds a tenant that pays the market rate long term, he makes out. but it's a gamble... as I personally saw buildings sit empty on that block of E. Williams.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Years ago the folks at the White Market were the only ones who would deliver groceries to my elderly mother-in-law when we were out of town. Sad to see so many reactionary comments posted here.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

Reactionaries are those who defend the established order against change, yes--in the present case, the established urban order is determined wholly by the market and defended by the immoderate and dismissive cant that privileges landlords' rents over the heterogeneity and local character which impart a sense of place to a community and pride and belonging to its citizens.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

"Reactionary" means outrage in response to changes from the way things used to be. The reactionaries here are those who think the world is ending every time a coffee shop goes out of a business, just because they have fond memories of it from their college days.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

While they've been there forever, the store looked it from the outside. Most times when we went by the light wasn't fully lit. My son graduated a few years back, and the other one is there now, and neither have ever been in the store. We never shopped there in the late 70s or early 80s either. Unfortunate. As far as talking about other closings, many have nothing to do with Ann Arbor. Cosi has been near bankruptcy for some time. Stock is at $0.78 right now. Ritz Camera went bankrupt TWICE in the past few years. You can't blame the landlord. If they could have paid the new rent, then they'd be able to stay. Very unfortunate. Also, for those saying he's greedy, the old building owners listed it for $2.5 million and got $1.5 million...

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

a2comments, I CAN and DO blame the landlord. Do not presume to tell me otherwise.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

Now this is a sad story. Many elderly & disabled people in Ann Arbor used their wonderful delivery service for years. I doubt that anyone else offers this level of service at such a reasonable price.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Yep... not sure what it is now, but it use to be only a dollar charge. Dave would personally deliver to numerous elderly in the area and at some local retirement homes.

Terri Eagen-Torkko

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Oh, no! I'm so sad to hear this--they've been my go-to place for a cold soda and a fantastic chicken salad sandwich for years, no. I will miss them terribly.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

Sad news... Williams street won't be the same. I grew up with Dave's sons... started working there in high school, and continued working there for my first couple years at Michigan. Dave and Darlene are two outstanding people that deserve better. I have so many great memories from working there... slinging hot dogs and water at art fairs, making/delivering sandwiches to nearby businesses, interacting with the diverse group of people that made up the regular customers. Always had a great time interacting with the College Shoe guys... Mr. and Mrs. Brown and their son Pat. Ann Arbor has certainly lost a little piece of itself with those two businesses closing. Another mom and pop operation closes up shop so that a 1%'er can buy a new vacation home.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Kevin, also frequented both places. But, you get what you wish for: aggressively market UM, particiate in insane salary bidding and tuition hikes, 30%+ of the students paying out-of-state tuition rate, Zaragon down the street where parents can afford to do both tuition and rent, and you expect the area to become "immune" from the 1%? There already there, and they'd rather have a Starbucks than a quaint market

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.



Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

That's what you got out of my post? Thanks for that! How about "East William will never be the same." Better?

Some Guy in 734

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

It's not "Williams" [S]treet. Not now, not previously.

Michael Weinstein

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

This is why people call you the "peoples republic of Ann arbor". You don't seem to be operating in the real world. The landlord is being called greedy because he wants to feed his family....and renting a property for half of it's value is just plain stupid. If all of you believe that this place should stay n business then YOU should donate the rent.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

roadsidedinerlover , we'll retire it when the residents stop earning it.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Once upon a time, in rural America, there were people who were willing to help out the little guy. Then something happened and we all became just a little bit more selfish. Now? It is more Scrooge like and we have lost our sense of place and honor. I use to like Ann Arbor, but moved to Ypsilanti for a more down home appeal. Ann Arbor has lost its sense of charm and self worth. Good luck to the down ward spiral.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

I am SOOOO tired of hearing that verse..."Peoples Republic of Ann Arbor". Time to retire it! :P


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

Its sad to see these old institutions having to close. I remember going there when I was a student in the late 60s. I guess its all about the buck. I don't know what the landlord thinks he can do on that little plot of land. Maybe he owns the whole corner and would like to put op another housing monstrosity.

Lemmy Caution

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

A nice business. Let's hope the next one is similarly nice, locally owned, non-repetitive, and treats its employees better than those big box monsters Target, Walmart, and so forth. Presumably the nearby American Apparel space will be available any time now: that place is always empty, plus the CEO is always up to no good. Wouldn't it be cool if someone opened a business that serves several purposes at once-- used books and media, juice and drink bar, stitch-n-bitch classes, art shows, current events lectures by local experts, poetry readings, local clothing and better crafts, vintage mod furniture, carefully chosen posters and artifacts, etc? Why can pricey places like Chapel Hill support such things when we can't? Who has the guts to try? Sadly, the long march upward of rents and business real estate value (how comes their values and taxes haven't come down like the rest of us?) probably means more 7-11 type stuff. What a singularly soulless store that one is: the Grey Market.

Lemmy Caution

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

To the first responder. I wish I had the money to join such a partnership. Sadly, I bought my house when the market was overheated and the great recession means that the home's value is down at least 30%. So, there goes the capital for possible participation in a new business at current local rental rates. And banks are exceedingly cautious with small fry like me. My income is stable but below six figures. And of course the big chains can afford to plump the market with super-high rents--at least until they can't (Borders, Circuit City, Best Buy, etc).

Michael Weinstein

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Hey lemme, you should put the money up for this new venture!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Come on down to Cross street. Right across the street from EMU. I guarantee that you will have a lot of business from the nicest folks on earth. Cheap rent too. Time to leave Ann Arbors greed to a nice place called Ypsilanti. Enough said. Twice the rent eh? Yup, sounds like greed to me. Good luck what ever you do.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

They have a open spot for a guy like him. Can't believe the hits I got. Wow. I'd help him move.

Terri Eagen-Torkko

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

I would LOVE to see them move to that location--GREAT idea!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Dave, you might have failed to find a new location for your's this town that has failed you. Good luck in the future!

Linda Peck

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

All the best to you, Mr Jones!

Kitty O'Brien

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7 p.m.

Pretty sure Mr. Boutsikakis owns Uptown Coney Island. Wonder if that's what's going in there.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

Uptown is gross...:P


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Oh no! Uptown Coney Island is one of the noisiest, most careless places I've eaten breakfast in the last six months. Let's hope whatever he puts in this space is better quality.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

@Kitty O'Brien You're right, he does own Uptown Coney Island.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7 p.m.

This is a tragedy. White Market sammiches are the best around. It's horrible that the downtown area keeps losing these historic businesses.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

You're welcome to pay a high enough price for sandwiches to allow White Market to afford its rent.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Very sad to read this story. No one will ever duplicate the countless kind deeds that Mr. Jones so silently performed behind the scenes. All the best to you, Mr. Jones. You , your business and your services will be greatly missed.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

Rent control?!? In Ann Arbor ?!? I hope not. Love to keep them, but time marches on.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

The area around the intersection of Maiden Lane and Broadway / Plymouth has markets with focused selection. Same with the area on North Main near to Depot; or even into the neighborhood west of Main near Summit. White Market would be a great addition in any of these areas.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

How can a landlord double rent? Once a lease is established, doesn't the rate of increase need to be held to a reasonable % ?


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

That is why some tenants sign long term leases. Sign a 10 year lease and you know for that time what your rent will be.

Stan Hyne

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Or the person renting can decide not to renew and leave.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

Why would people vote my post down? In the words of Homer Simpson, "Everyone's stupid but me"


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

"How can a landlord double rent? Once a lease is established, doesn't the rate of increase need to be held to a reasonable % ?" Only if the lease provided for it, or if some statutory rent control/rent stabilization provision required that. But in the absence of an applicable lease term or an applicable law, when the lease expires the new rental is subject to whatever agreement the parties reach -- i.e., subject to the market. And if the owner can get twice the rent from someone else, it's hard to rage too seriously about his not continuing the old lease with White Market, however much they may be missed by some.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Leases have to be renewed regularly, they don't run for ever. When the current lease ran out, the owner didn't renew it.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Glad Babo opened up. They stay open until 10, have FRESH produce and a butcher, and wine. That is how to cater a store to the local population...time just passed the White Market by, they never bothered to keep up because there was no competition.

Madeleine Borthwick

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

Mohawk, for the ridiculous prices they charge, Babo's produce had just BETTER be fresh!!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

@DJBudSonic - That $12/lb prepared food at babo is still cheaper than your corporate sponsored Whole Foods and Plum Market.... Both of which (I'd guess) pay cheaper rent then babo and have far deeper pockets. So what does that tell you about someone trying to do something for their customers? Oh yeah, babo also supports and carries just about everything local, including Zingerman's. Love seeing people that sit in their armchairs doing nothing to support the better good while they complain about young entrepreneurs that take risks , actually contribute to our society and donate all around town like Sava. Keep up the good work!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

Yeah I'm gonna rush over to Babo for some of that $12/lb. marinated tofu...


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

I worked for Dave and Darlene at the White Market through most of my undergraduate years at Michigan. They are a wonderful family and ran a simple business serving the community. I am saddened to hear that the market will be closing and wish the Jones family all the best.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Yeah, i missed it at first... then it hit me. Hope all is well!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Hi Kevin :) I figured someone would get my inside reference.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Did you work there in the late 90's and was Wednesday your nickname from the shoe shop?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

A combination bottle return store and marijuana dispensary would find a ready clientele there, maybe with various witchcraft products in a curtained-off rear room.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Sorry, I may be missing it in the story, but I don't even know what kind of store this is/was. Groceries?

Detached Observer

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 6:04 p.m. overlooks critical details like this all the time. But hey, that's journalism in the 21st century.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

And No Thai! serves Thai food. It was a valid question, ViSHa, and undeserving of GSK's nastiness.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Oh, and Boston MARKET is a "restaurant" take out place. just sayin'


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

DUH GSK, White House/Black MARKET is a clothing store, but I hope you feel important belittling another poster.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

Duh, Visha. White. Market. Groceries.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Simone66 and jrw, you are both free to purchase as much real estate as you desire in Ann Arbor and rent it as cheap as you desire. Do you realize landlords have to pay extremely high property taxes (the city charges tax on the value of the real estate). A landlord takes many risks, if the tenant can't pay the rent, the landlord still has to pay his taxes and expenses. THis gentleman is trying to find a spot to locate his store, why don't you reach out to him and buyone for him and rent it to him fo rsuper cheap.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

A critical reasoning course would be helpful to so many of these writers. You're just attacking the other person's circumstances (he/she doesn't have an alternate solution, so they have no right to criticize, he/she isn't a landlord, so they have no right to speak) instead of arguing against their points. The point about property taxes and the risks landlords take is a rational reply; but so much time is taken up just attacking the person and not their arguments.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

I shouldn't be surprised at the detractors and negative voters, but I am. Comparing the way our economic system works to and those who work tirelessly to make it go to some mythical football team is simply silly. There 's a kid in Detroit who opened a lemonade stand, earned $3600, and gave it all to the City of Detroit to help with their budget problems. If a kid can do that in a week Im sure one of our constant complainers can get off the couch and find a way to become a "better" landlord.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

"Anyone who complains must think they can do better, so let them do it." I see. So anyone who criticizes the football team, for example, needs to get a position on the team as quarterback or coach? If a poster criticizes the decision of a landlord, they need to become a landlord? If a poster criticizes the mayor of A2, they need to run for mayor? I see. So there is no discussion that allows for disagreements, just accusations of "if you can do it better, go ahead." Not a basis for a discussion.

Stephen Landes

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

A2brooksie -- you have stated the case exactly. Anyone who complains must think they can do better, so let them do it. We still have that kind of freedom in this country: You can start a business, take the risk, follow your vision, and try to make it. The owner of White Market did that and he has been "making it" for a long time and he is to congratulated and lauded for boing exactly what we want others to do.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Well, one more example of the high rents and greed pushing out services that are needed if A2 wants to have a dynamic downtown with a full range of residents (not just students) and services for those residents. Obviously, they do not. Landlords are interested in one thing: high profit. More overpriced boutiques and overpriced restaurants keep filling the rental spaces, and local family businesses are pushed out. Good luck with that approach. A2 can't thrive on constant retail turnover and profiting off the backs of so-called rich students. It's becoming Disneyland for rich students and their parents with characterless chains who pay high rent, feeding greedy landlords.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

constant retail turnover? the store has been there for decades

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Why don't you give a constructive suggestion about how to fix it, instead of just whining? Do you want the City Council to do central planning for the whole city, and decide which businesses are allowed to open and close, who can rent in which buildings, and how much their rent costs?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

Looks like they data back to 1920s: Also this photo from 1948 of the market moving to their current location. It looks like they formerly occupied the College Shoe Repair space before that.

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

@Brad: Yes, you're right. White Market was next door. Thanks for the link!


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

I knew Dave when he managed the Food and Drug Mart where the BSRB is now. He is a gentleman and deserves only good in his life..


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

This is a damn shame. I passed by White Market yesterday and saw the 'store closing' sign and just sighed. Just as the fancy Zaragon apts opened down the street, I'm sure the landlord wants something fancier in that spot and paying double the price. I just feel disheartened that so much of the A2 'character' is being lost to landlord greed and to welcome in national brands to appeal to people just passing through for a short while.

Bryan Ellinger

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Renee S, are you confusing the shoe repair on Fourth Avenue, which is close to Kerrytown, with the former shoe repair on William, which is near central campus?


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

@4fingers, look kid, it's not a matter of "get over it", it's the principle of the matter than so many home town, small businesses are being pushed out of the immediate U of M campus area. And to make matters worse, it's even more insidious that an Ann Arbor native is initiating the close down of a business that has been in that very spot for 70 years. So don't tell people to get over it, what's done is done and I realize that. I am very eager to know what type of business is going into that spot and chances are it's a nationwide company selling the same thing that can be bought 2 minutes around the corner.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Kevin - I'm sure the landlord took that into consideration when he made a choice about the most efficient use of his own property. Not your property, his.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

You rent it at a discount to the White market because you know they are stable and will always be there paying rent. Sure, the landlord might get 40-50% more on the open market, but he only makes out if there is a tenant there for 70+% of the time he owns the building... which might not happen. During the time I worked at WM, there were numerous buildings with a new tenant rotating through every year or two... and those buildings had long stretches with no tenant(s)... e.g. the building that The Burro occupied for a short time.

4 Fingers

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

Actually Simone, the 'rich outside interest landlord', Gus is from Ann Arbor. And as for me, I'm a townie from the start and never stepped foot in that place. So what's your point? Landlord's should give rent discounts to businesses that can't afford market rent? (No pun intended). Things change. Get over it.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Ann Arbor lost it's sense of character a long time ago. Yes, everything is about money...who has it, who wants it, who wants more. It's the American way.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

simone66--and your solution to this "problem" is what? That the landlord should give a 50% discount on rent, basically giving White Market a subsidy of tens of thousands of dollars? The landlord's shareholders could sue him for doing that (if he has shareholders).


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Angry Moderate and Renee, you both sum up exactly why a lot of true Ann Arborites feel the way we do. Angry Moderate think it's cool for a rich outside interest landlord to rightly jack up prices to meet the market rental demands (I agree with that in principle), but for a quaint business that has been there for many decades to lose out and have to vacant by month's end is just sad. And it is GREED to not attempt to work out a deal on rent to keep that business there. And Renee, you not so much noticing the White Market before, says a lot about how much time you have put into knowing that area. Your comment was indifferent and arrogant. But, that's par for the course.

Renee S.

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

I'm not sure if you've ever bought a building for $1.5 million, but the kind of person can afford that doesn't rent out a place for half of what it's worth just because the store has been there for a while. You're dreaming if you think that would ever happen. I used to live in Kerrytown and have walked down that street many times, and I NEVER noticed the White Market, although I did notice the shoe repair shop- this is the first I've heard of it. Sometimes you just need to let things die.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

And a "reasonable" agreement for rent would not be HALF of what you can get on the open market. Some discount for a trusted, long-term tenant--sure. But 50% off is no way to run a business--and the landlord is running a business just like the White Market.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

And why have you assumed that the new tenant won't provide good "character", when you don't even know who it is? Obviously, the vast majority of people don't agree with the NIMBY naysayers on this site, or else all of the new businesses wouldn't be able to afford to pay more than the businesses that are getting replaced.


Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

There are plenty of reasons to keep a long term tenant and make a reasonable agreement for rent. Not EVERYTHING is about money. Some individuals care about the community, the character of the downtown area and keeping long term family businesses able to continue providing a needed service.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

"Greed"? It's called business. Why the heck would a landlord sign a $25/sqft. tenant when he could sign a $45/sqft. tenant instead? Would you really decline a job offer that would double your paycheck?