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Posted on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

This & That candy store to close after a year on East Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs


This & That, located at 611 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor, will close by the end of November.

Lizzy Alfs |

This & That, a candy store at 611 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor, announced today that it will close by November after opening just over a year ago.

Owner Andrea Graef said business has been down significantly in the past couple months and she “just can’t make it” anymore on East Liberty Street.

“This was something I was hoping to keep going and going, but it’s just not going to happen,” she said.

She now plans to sell off her remaining inventory and close the store by the end of November.

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Andrea Graef, owner of This & That, last year before her candy store opened. file photo

When Graef opened This & That in the former 4 Seasons Perfume and Lingerie in July 2010, she thought East Liberty Street was the perfect location for a candy store.

“We know Ann Arbor is a college town,” she said last year. “We also know there are a lot of young families. There are people who have been here for 40, 50, 60 years.”

Now, Graef said she’s seen business steadily decline in the past few months.

“Business was excellent when I opened,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. My weeks were steady and I was constantly bringing in new merchandise. This spring, all of a sudden, people just weren’t coming down here.”

Graef cited several factors that contributed to the decline in business, including the poor economy, the opening of CVS on South State Street in March 2011 and Borders' flagship store closing.

“The closing of Borders has had a bigger impact on this area than I ever could have imagined,” she said. “Also, had I known CVS was going to open down the street from me, I never would have opened this store. I just can’t compete.”

Last week, Graef also said the panhandlers on East Liberty Street between Division Street and State Street have had a negative impact on her business.

“Panhandlers really do affect my business,” she said. “People want to come down and shop and not be bothered. I’ve called the police about issues I’ve had with them, but it’s just not a priority.”

“I’ve just become so disillusioned with this area,” she continued.

Just last week, Poshh boutique announced it will also close by the end of October, ending its decade-long presence on East Liberty Street.

Owner Wendy Batiste-Johnson cited reasons similar to Graef for her decision to close.

With these two retailers leaving, vacancies on East Liberty Street are at an all-time high.

Across the street, the 42,000-square-foot former Borders store sits vacant. A few months ago, the restaurant chain concept @burger also closed its only restaurant a few hundred feet to the west on Liberty.

When This & That closes in November, Graef said she plans to take some time off to regroup, and hopes to continue her Red Cross disaster relief work.

“I so appreciate everyone and I feel badly,” she said. “But I still love and support Ann Arbor, and I’ll still be here.”

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


Random Man

Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

To Ms. Graef thank you for believing in Ann Arbor and being brave enough to try and open a business in Ann Arbor. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you but it's people like you that will help turn our economy around and keep Ann Arbor unique and a great place to live. This forum often becomes a cruel platform for venting on other subjects and misses the point that a good person lost a little bit of the American dream. I hope you have the courage to try again someday.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 7:11 a.m.

Maybe downtown A2 is irrevelant and the rents Certainly are 2 High


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

While it may be true that the landscape of A2 is morphing, I'm not convinced its completely due to increased panhandling. One thing is certain, if the city government truly cares about the economic vitality of A2 it will enforce with more patrols. On the other hand, having lived in Portland, OR for years I can attest that townies here seem much more shocked by this situation than they should be. Cities like Portland, San Fran and others have responded by enforcing strict and swift penalties for drifters/panhandlers who take advantage of the public and the homeless shelters they inhabit. Ann Arbor will be no different, and if it wishes to remain vibrant, it will have to spend money on this issue or face the loss of population. When you clean the cookie crumbs off the floor, the ants move on.


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

@Meg Wha? You magically know why I left Portland huh? :) Sounds like I hear a patient alarm going off in the distance....better go see if they need something :) Hows the night shift anyways?


Sat, Oct 1, 2011 : 4:15 a.m.

I'm not surprised you left Portland. You don't really fit in with PDX.

Cosmic Ray

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

Well put.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

Parking and high rent! It's as simple as that!

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

I'm afraid cutesy names like "This and That" don't tell shoppers anything about the business. I don't see anything in that window that says "candy". Personally, I've got enough "this and that" to last the rest of my life, but I might have bought some candy if I'd known that was what was for sale.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

Agreed - This and That sounds like a miscellaneous store filled with knick-knacks.

just a voice

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

When the store opened I put my money on it as the next retail store to close in that area. I feel that the store owner is 'blaming' that part of town, but I think she needs to look at her own actions and take the blame herself; 1 - when they opened they had very little in the way of specialty candy (though they did try to increase the amount of those products in the store). The prices were over $1 for a regular candy bar, maybe only 10 cents, but even without CVS there where already many stores in the area selling candy for $1 even. 2 - Did they do any market research? What made them think this place was going to thrive? 3 - the bums in that area are getting better not worse. This year there was no punk week and the amount of aggressive panhandling was down significantly. 4- oh, and are the idea of bums in ann arbor a new idea? again; research the area you plan to open your store, So people, don't blame city council or anyone else for what (IMHO) appeared to be a flawed business plan from day 1. This store screamed project business from day one, basically it's a hobby not a job and the owner got bored of the hobby because it wasn't working out.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.

I have no idea whether the business model was flawed as some suggest but I had not been in the Liberty Street area in a while and recently went there and was surprised how much more pervasive the panhandlers are. It was the worst I have seen in all my years in Ann Arbor. I also believe that the closing of Border's is going to have a very considerable effect on all surrounding businesses, that store was always full of people and many of them likely were in the area because that store was there.

Dr. Webster

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

I agree with the other voices I am reading here. It really sounds more like poor business choices. Market research! MR fills the knowledge gap by doing the research for what it needed in an area and what volume you can expect. To open a business just thinking it is a good idea is like going to a casino when you need money for your baby's shoes!


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

And on what are you basing your assumption that they didn't do any research before opening? She had an idea, she implemented it--I see no reason to fault her for the idea not working out.

Robert D. Mosley

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:43 a.m.

I agree with others that this is a case where the City of Ann Arbor should learn from. Borders closing was unavoidable but it is amazing the effect it has had in Ann Arbor and other areas in southeast Michigan. The CVS stores' impact is surprising and the panhandler issue and parking issues have apparently had quite an impact and maybe parking can be improved, but the panhandler is like Borders closing.....the economy is bad and what can one do in the near future? This was a good article in putting some important issues out there that need to be dealt with for present and future business.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

""Also, had I known CVS was going to open down the street from me, I never would have opened this store." -- now there's another CLUE for all of us. CVS: the perfect place to find disinterested employees and "service lines" which appear, disappear and change like "Black Magic" performed by Satan's League of Bad Service. They also supply endless amounts of cheap candy like most chain stores (even the ones with "pharmacy" in their names). Someone should get a list of the insurance providers accepted at CVS pharmacies and publish them: that'll show a lot of people "what good" they are. Small businesses are supposed to be the focus of our Genius Governor $nyder: yet here in one of the few economic bright spots of Michigan: it's a LITANY small business closings. More $moke and Mirror$ thrown up by the $nyder Regime. $nyder has created his own fund for donations to cover "his costs as governor" --- how "patriotic" he is and how "devoted" he is - are no longer questions.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:14 a.m.

I suspect the prevailing reason for the drop in business was the CVS store that opened on State.

hut hut

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Can't blame the dispensaries, they're closed.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

And perhaps that had more to do with the candy store's declining business than the other reasons cited!

Kara Marie

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

Man, I like this store...this sucks...

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

Makes your teeth fall out.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Besides, who opens a candy store in an area teeming with 20-year-olds? Just a bad business idea...


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

Blame the city all you want, but there's nothing they can do about peaceful begging. It's protected by the constitution, which is why the ACLU is suing the state and Grand Rapids over anti-panhandling laws.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

This IS true in general, but you can't do it anytime or anyplace. Other cities--even NYC--have set some limits which have stood the test of constitutionality.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

I agree with the panhandling issue. It doesn't seem like an urgent issue at the time that it's called into the police BUT it does have a big impact on the community. I want to be able to get my kids in and out of a store without someone asking for money, telling me they just need a little money for gas because their car ran out and their wife and baby are in there, smeeling like alcohol and then having to explain to my kids why I didn't help this unfortunate man. Yes, it's a life lesson for kids to learn but it's sad that we have to teach them that theres only certain people we can's just sad.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Oh protect the children. Didnt take long for that tried and true right wing staple.

tom swift jr.

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

I we could just get Granholm downtown panhandling with a RichRod mask on wearing an Obama button would we still need to blame the panhandlers for all the problems?

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 6:45 a.m.

We could try it, but where would she park? I know, I know, monumentally sarcastic.

Rose Garden

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

Absurdly sarcastic.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.


Wolf's Bane

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

A candy store in downtown Ann Arbor had about as much of a chance of success like opening a Bongs & Thongs shop a few blocks down. :)

Charley Sullivan

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

Hey, let's just put a fence around downtown and only let in the right kind of people. Then let's put up surveillance cameras to make sure everyone behaves. THEN, to pay for it, we'll just charge a small admissions fee. And, since people are paying to come in, we'll make sure it stays all spic and span and clean. We can call it DisneyAnn! Or gated suburbia. Time to move to Bezerkly!

Rose Garden

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:21 a.m.

Ridiculously sarcastic.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.

Oh, come on. Just because someone suggests that panhandling in Ann Arbor DOES create problems is no excuse to go on rants and red herrings, creating straw person situations along the way. No one's suggesting shooting the homeless; just trying to balance business and personal freedom issues.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

I still advocate a dome for the entire A2 area and a big sign that says Welcome to Mall Arbor.

Cosmic Ray

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Speaking as a downtown street vendor myself, Ms Graef has my sympathy, and best wishes for the future. These fellows really do make it hard on us.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

There's little sympathy in "liberal" towns for business people trying to make it, I'm afraid!

John A2

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

Let the panhandlers take control of our downtown area, and chase the buyers away. That's what we get for opening a 5 star homeless shelter. They are coming to A2 in large groups to invade our townies and put an end to business. Sad, but true.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

The obvious answer is to raise taxes, AKA revenue enhancement and then give it to the panhandlers so they don't need to panhandle

Rose Garden

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:20 a.m.

This is too sarcastic and is not the answer.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

Okay...So let's blame all loss of business on panhandlers.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

The owner did not blame the business failure solely on panhandlers. She mentioned the closing of Borders, which I think is a big factor, among other factors. I suspect the panhandlers are a problem for these businesses, but certainly not a primary reason for a business failure. I think many people are overreacting to the panhandler issue, but it appears that they have become more aggressive since the police cut back on patrols. There is a big difference between someone asking for handouts and getting in your face, touching you or demanding money.

Rose Garden

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:19 a.m.

Not the only reason.

say it plain

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

I don't go downtown anymore because of the terrible roads I'd need to take to get there, and the terrible construction going on where I used to park. The restaurants feel overpriced and underinteresting lately, and when there was interesting stuff happening on State Street/Liberty Street it felt like all of downtown was more of a destination for entertainment and picking out good eating venues, but now there are so many chains the whole feel of the place is less compelling. Potbelly's? Starbucks? CVS? Seven-Eleven? Got those with easier parking at strip malls. Sure, there's also Ashley's and Red Hawk and Totoro and so on, but once there's a Buffalo Wild Wings on the same street the cache of the whole block is kinda lost for me. The way-finding signs sorta wrecked the streetscape, add some pretend-historic-facaded CVSs and a Panera bread and bleh, not worth trying to figure out which streets are closed for the big dig and other projects that week. Starts feeling more like a food court/convenience store strip for the albeit lovely new UM dorm. There aren't enough inexpensive but interesting eating options to lure regular people to entertain themselves regularly downtown anymore. I guess it's the rents, which is so unfortunate.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

I believe you are highlighting the real problem with this area of downtown. I'd also like to see more (small) live music venues (other than those on First st). What happened to live jazz in A2?

david st. crystal

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

When I was in high school at Pioneer 16 years ago--and during all the years of my life beforehand--A2 was a completely different town. It was lively, diverse, and liberal in the best way--academics, hippies, families, and a fairly wide range of friendly eccentrics mingled to create a buzz. There were distinct demographic and stylistic differences between South U. , State, and Main--walking from one area to another was like traveling. That A2 has been leveled. For those of us who enjoyed the liberal atmosphere that really defined A2 as the Berkeley of the Midwest, it's been a shame to see it steamrolled by blandness over the past decade. To those of you in A2 who now bark about smelly panhandlers, obnoxious children, and a fancy homeless shelter: be glad you weren't here 20 years ago! You would have hated it, but it was a much more interesting town, and all the Birmingham/Grand Rapids values you champion are precisely what Ann Arborites despised.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

The Buffalo Wild Wings and the entire building sort killed that part of town. Agreed.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

While it is unfortunate the economy is the way it is, the fact that this store is closing doesn't surprise me. I stopped in during August. My 2 children (ages 5 and 10), who were just looking (not touching), were told not to touch anything. We walked out and went to Border's where kids were made to feel welcome.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

But all customers weren't treated like your family. I love the place and Andrea's been nothing but fantastic with us as well as other customers when we've been there. YMMV, surely, but if someone speaking to your precious dumplings is reason enough for you never to shop somewhere again, I have a list of URLs I'm happy to share with you.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

We were only in the store for a few minutes, and while we were there we DID NOT touch a thing. If my kids did something wrong, I would have taken care of the issue (bought the broken coffee mug, opened candy, etc.). Also, I would not have been offended if the employee asked them to stop, if they had been doing something wrong. Funny thing, my kids didn't even care about the store, I wanted to take a look. My point in posting this was that if all customers were treated like my family, told or asked not to touch, how could anyone buy anything. It's a candy store, obviously they were hoping to attract professionals, college students, etc. not families with children. I don't patronize businesses that don't make me or my children feel welcome.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

David, we don't know that the store employee "snapped" at these children or what was said and how. It is ridiculous to extend this incident, whatever it was, to explain the failure of the business.

david st. crystal

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:19 a.m.

@ Loveaduck, I basically agree with you. This was a candy store, however, and children will inevitably be the main clientele. Not to split hairs, but said her kids weren't touching anything. It's shoddy customer service to snap at kids who aren't doing anything wrong, especially when the store caters to them specifically. Also, "This and That" is a really unfortunate name for a store. Terrible. These stores have come and gone pretty regularly in A2's history. There was that weird store in Nickel's with all the slush machines that lasted about a year. Borders closing had nothing to do with this.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

Your kids SHOULDN'T be touching things at random. People who have kids often think that they never have to control them and if anyone, even gently, says anything they are horrid! It's not the childrens' fault when they destroy displays, etc (I've seen this sort of behavior) but rather the self-indulgent parents who can't bear to have their darlings' self esteem affected by someone else's having to restrain their often undisciplined kids. Sorry to be such a grouch.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Oh, Andrea, I'm so sorry to hear this. My wife and I have enjoyed chatting with you when we've stopped by so she can keep me in Tootsie-Pop Drops. You will be sorely missed.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

It is the parking. It is the parking. Get it?

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

These recent articles condemning panhandlers seem nothing more than a paid campaign by the DDA to shift the focus from high rents, high parking cost, and the nightmare of finding a parking spot downtown.

say it plain

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

I actually never had trouble finding a parking spot until they started construction on the underground parking garage lol. Now, its more that the high rents are making so much of downtown dull or overpriced. Probably would help, given the limited interestingness lately especially, if parking were cheaper also, yeah.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

Very sad to see this shop go - Andrea and her staff were always so friendly and helpful. I agree with the sentiments of other commenters - wake up, city leadership. Wake up.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Sorry to see another business leave. Ann Arbor seems to be on a downhill slide, and the city government doesn't seem to either care or be competent enough to do anything about it. Don't re-elect anybody.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

I don't go downtown much any more, mostly because of parking. If buses were running in the evening hours, it would be a different story.

Roy Munson

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Andrea, you are not the only one who has become disillusioned with the area. Like you, I will be out of here as soon as I can. This place has gone so far downhill in the last 5 years, especially in the last 2.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Attitcus - What a nice wish you have for Mr. Munson. I take it you are an example of what now hangs out on State and Liberty Streets? Good grief!

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

Good, maybe you can go sell your goods/services on the side of the road in Milan or downtown Saline. I heard there are very few homeless in those areas...Let me know how that works out for you.

Robert Coffey

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

While I'm sorry to hear about another local business closing, given the state of the economy I'm not sure news of a candy-and-tschotke store closing is all that surprising.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

That niche store lasted way longer than I ever thought it would!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

the area East of Division between Washington and William is transformed by students in luxury "units". You might think they would up the trend on the street in the retail area, however, they are here to go to class and study and get a degree. I'll bet you they go home to their upscale suburban shopping malls and use the credit card if they need "stuff"....but students usually stock their room with all that they need at the beginning of a 3 -4 mo term. It would be healthy behaviour if these kids are studying and not shopping, esp at a candy store and for chic clothes, in my opinion. But the larger question is: What do you think happens when development in a section of town is skewed to a certain group at the expense of other people who also live in the town...."the other people" logically get their needs met elsewhere.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

If we buy a huge sculpture from a foreign artist and put it on Liberty St. It should solve the panhandling, poor economy and should improve business almost immediately. .......or not.

Tom Joad

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

One would imagine that her rents are ruinous to her bottom line. The panhandlers are only further indication of a declining economy in Ann Arbor and the level of desperation some are driven to. A candy store would, in fact, be a panhandler magnet as they know customers have "change" and are spending their money on a discretionary item for sure. The contraction of the American economy is affecting the buying power of most people; candy and booze people can well do without, the prolific number of bars are next on the closing list.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

What evidence do you have that they are people who have lost a job? What evidence do you have that they are looking for work? Not!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

Yeah, I've been getting drunk at home a lot lately. Screw the bar!

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

The homeless have been occupying this city for as long as I've lived here, 30+ years. Any claims that the homeless are the reason that several businesses have failed in this area are nothing more than an attempt to blame the homeless for poor planning and a poor business model. You could lock up every homeless person in the state of Michigan, and places like the Pita Pit, and candy stores that pay $1,500/month rent would still be doomed to fail.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Well, Atticus, I can one-up you on that. I've lived here over 45 years. Went to school here and stayed. I've spent a lot of time on campus and around town and the begging prooblem is by far, far and away worse than it was. You don't seem to get that these people are not the homeless, nor are they people who try to work. There is such a thing as laziness; there are people who take advantage. And there are people who feel entitled. There are people who are clever and know a good scam when they see one. For many, it's better than working. These are not the people I feel sorry for. They are not people who have lost their jobs and have family to support. They are instead professional beggars. The mere fact of being on the street does not qualify one as needy.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 6:40 a.m.

I'd rather see thriving businesses here than panhandlers. Just my opinion. Of course, if we get rid of all the businesses, we'll probably end up losing the panhandlers, too.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Atticus, they certainly have a right to be here. They don't necessarily have a right do do as they please. Again, we're not talking so much about the hungry, more so the perpetually "out of gas".


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

There's housing on the Diag?!

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

MIKE, I agree with you that this is not about the homeless... I think where we disagree on is weather or not these people have the right to be here. I think we also disagree as to the assertion that these people are somehow to blame for the failure of businesses in the area.

Adam Dickson

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Every time I walk down Liberty, I know I'm going to be approached by a panhandler. Whether it be the polite smiling gentleman who slouches outside of Borders or the drunken, barely coherent man who stumbles up and down the street with his hand out - it's inevitable. Such a shame - it is a great street with interesting stores - but there's a cloud of creepiness that hangs over it. I would avoid the street if traveling that route wasn't a necessity!


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

Again, this is not about the homeless, who I wouldn't hesitate to help. It's about panhandlers, who have homes, work in shifts, and have "territories" marked out.

Atticus F.

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

javajolt, I've lived here for OVER 30 years, I grew up on the Diag, and I work in the heart of the down town area. The prevalence of panhandlers usually increases in the summer and may have increased slightly over the last few years due to the economy, but even that notion is debatable at best. The bottem line, is they are human beings, their lives hold as much value as yours or mine, and they have just as much right to be there as you or I have. If you don't like that then leave... I would rather see homeless people panhanding in my city, than see intolerant people in my city.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

Atticus, The homeless and panhandlers are two totally different groups of people. Every article and recent study has concluded this. I've lived in Ann Arbor more than 30 years and The explosion of panhandlers downtown has grown. There was an interesting comment by an Ann Arbor cab driver the other day speaking about the well-known panhandler he drives to and from his home who gloats about making a fortune tax-free. The homeless and downtown panhanders are not the same.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

She didn't say the homeless helped her business to fail. She said panhandlers. I don't think all homeless panhandle, nor are all of the panhandlers homeless.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

That's tobad. Good luck with your other endevors.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

When we lose an anchor store like Borders, it has a ripple effect. Borders WAS a destination, and because these other stores were nearby, they got more foot traffic just because they were there. I stopped in once and bought some chocolates, but the store is certainly aimed at those under 20-something. With all the other factors, we could see the DDA being caught with their pants down on this and that end of Liberty street turn into a retail desert. Oh well, we'll have plenty of SIGNS to direct them to Main Street. As far as prices, I see students spending money on a lot of things, and This & That wasn't going to bankrupt them.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:10 p.m.

I know what would do well on Liberty St. given the panhandler problem: A methadone clinic!

Rose Garden

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:15 a.m.

This is very sarcastic and has nothing to do with the situation.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Hey mayor and city council!!! "Last week, Graef also said the panhandlers on East Liberty Street between Division Street and State Street have had a negative impact on her business. "Panhandlers really do affect my business," she said. "People want to come down and shop and not be bothered. I've called the police about issues I've had with them, but it's just not a priority." "I've just become so disillusioned with this area," she continued. Just last week, Poshh boutique announced it will also close by the end of October, ending its decade-long presence on East Liberty Street. Owner Wendy Batiste-Johnson cited reasons similar to Graef for her decision to close." This is called a CLUE. Do you get it yet?


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.

Yeah, that whole CVS opening had nothing to do with it. Panhandlers are the made up problem of those who cant compete. Starbucks seems to be making it just fine. Scorekeepers is rolling along. Michigan Theater keeps getting good gigs and movies. Could it b a novelty shop jusst can not cut it.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

It sucks when businesses close. All I can think about is how the lost tax revenue will affect the city's art!

Rose Garden

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 4:14 a.m.

Very sarcastic and not related.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

I don't think students could afford the prices. Borders just closed, why blame them.


Fri, Sep 30, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

She wsn't blaming Borders. Please read the article. She only said their closing caused less traffic on the street, hence less business. Sshe is not expensive. And the student are among the richest in the city. Come on.


Thu, Sep 29, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

This and That, IMO, isn't expensive - $5 and a kid can leave with more candy than a dentist would prefer.