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Posted on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

Wild Side Smoke Shop to fill ex-Sole Sisters on East Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs


The Wild Side Smoke Shop location in The Courtyard Shops on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor.

Lizzy Alfs |

A new tenant is planning for an April opening in the former Sole Sisters space at 209 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor: Wild Side Smoke Shop.

The smoke shop, which has dozens of locations throughout Michigan including one on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, carries items such as hand-blown glass tobacco accessories, hookah products, cigarette rolling papers and lighters.

The 1,300-square-foot space was only on the market for about 30 days after Sole Sisters closed at the end of January. Owner Tamar Fowler moved her boutique around the corner from South Fourth Avenue to East Liberty Street in March 2010.


Wild Side Smoke Shop plans to open soon in the former Sole Sisters space at 209 E. Liberty St.

Photo from loopnet

“We had many, many inquiries, multiple showings, and in the end, had several [businesses] to choose from,” said Dan Stewart of Sperry Van Ness/Stewart Commercial Group, who listed the building with Mike Lamb.

They marketed the space as a “nicely located retail space with excellent window exposure to pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” according to the listing.

Building owner Michael Yi said he had inquiries from a national restaurant franchise, a hookah bar and Skydive Tecumseh.

Wild Side Smoke Shop, he said, was the “most eager and ready to go.”

He added: “We talked to the landlord of their other [Ann Arbor] location and they told me [Wild Side] is a very good tenant. Also, the fact that they have many outlets throughout the state persuaded me to go with them.”

The windows of the East Liberty Street storefront are currently covered in plastic, and Yi said renovations should begin soon. The owner of the smoke shop could not be reached for comment, but Yi said the store should open in April.

Wild Side joins another nearby smoke shop, Bongz & Thongz, which is located a few storefronts down at 119 E. Liberty St. Other downtown Ann Arbor smoke shops include Stairway to Heaven on South State Street, 42 Degrees on East William Street and Foggy Bottom Bayou on South State Street.

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



Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

I love reading the comments here about how bad downtown is getting and how this type of business "will not entice me to shop downtown." First of all, I doubt that any type of business will entice someone like that downtown. Second of all, downtown is doing very nicely without your business. There are many, many people who do go downtown on Friday and Saturday nights, going to the bars and restaurants and movie theaters. They really don't need you.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Seeing downtown AA is mostly restaurants, having a "head shop" or three would only be good for business...munchies!!!!

Christopher LeClair

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 10:33 a.m.

It's really unfortunate to see Sole Sisters gone. It was an amazing little boutique, even though I (obviously) did not shop there. Ann Arbor really seems to have some difficulty in keeping small boutiques such as that alive. Perhaps it would have been better suited in a location towards State Street? While it's great that there will be a new shop I am not convinced it is a great addition to the downtown atmosphere. Honestly, that business is more suited to the South University area.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 9:02 a.m.

What about the 7 boarded up homes on Main Street???


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 8:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor is just sad, there is to many of the same restaurants , to many smoke shops yet don't light up on campus or city streets hmmm.There is no balance to this town. I am ashamed now after leaving after 49 years to say Ann Arbor its dirty, corrupt and the Mayor decisions well sad. Where do the families that want American made products go without a hefty price tag? White Market is gone where do they buy their foods at cost not jacked up.This town is just a mess.So now City Council and the Mayor want to push Hooka's,rolling papers, cigarettes on the students they already sell them around every store.So take the few dollars the other stores make and what?Impeach the Mayor he has made this town dirty disgusting and he wasn't and did not grow up in Ann Arbor.Does anyone remember 4 th the 60's to 80's strip clubs , prostitutes, drugs ,pimp, peep houses bring those all back to Mayor and we have a Happy, Family orientated community of what? I think this is the final draw for me letting go and healing.Its the only place I know you can get away with selling a bogus house with a bogus land contract , take someone life savings extort, embezzle and get a slap on the wrist.Sadddddddddddddddddddddd


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 6:16 a.m.

With a little luck, it might even last as long as the previous tenant did! Like, who cares?! Pretty soon Liberty St. will be the next South U. Aaarrrgghh!


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 4:16 a.m.

With all of the coffee shops and tobacco stores in this town, I would think that Jim Jarmusch is on the city council

say it plain

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 5:13 a.m.

What an improvement to City Council that would be ;-)!


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

Maybe this will bring more of that fabulous downriver Hash Bash crowd.

Robert Granville

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

This isn't even a good move for those who use recreational or medical marijuana. Wildside deals exclusively in low end, chinese imported glass at extreme markups. If a smokeshop opens downtown, they may as well sell local, American made glass and support the artists who use high-quality, non toxic raw materials and pay taxes here. It may just seem like paraphernalia to many who read this article but functional glass art is on the rise nationally. If you think it's just water pipes and stoners oogling at them look up artists by the names of: MarbleSlinger, Snic, Pakoh, Salt, Eusheen, AK, Alex Inwood (A2 native), Gideon (A2 native)..


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

I'm happy to provide the following copy-editing of a paragraph in this story pro gratis: The smoke shop, which has dozens of locations throughout Michigan including one on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, carries items such as hand-blown glass "tobacco" accessories, hookah products, "cigarette" rolling papers, and lighters. I threw in the Oxford comma as an added bonus.

Peter Eckstein

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

As a proponent of assisted suicide, how can I object?


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Wow! Bad, bad, bad choice.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

What not PC enough for you

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Let's see....parking price going up, class of businesses going down. One can save a lot by not shopping in the area.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

LOL. A smoke shop will keep you from coming downtown to shop? You must be absolutely terrified of State Street.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Yet another reason to not come to downtown Ann Arbor.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

Good. Ann Arbor has already exceeded the quota on superior beings. It's time for the rest of us to establish a presence.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Great. More parking for us.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

I believe it is called "supply and demand" Competition in this market is ripe. They are good tenants. Good business brings more people to the area. Win, win for all. The Glenn Miller fans probably aren't real excited.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

This might be too close to BongznThongz.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 4:29 a.m.

@Divine, refer to it as the Strip or reefer to it as the Strip?


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

That's what a2 needs..a strip club maybe the old borders could work

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

When this sort of thing happens, we refer to it as a the Strip!


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.



Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Is it irony that the advert is for Smokey the Bear? Get your smokey on!

Tom Joad

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

The nearly half million marijuana patients need their smoking implements

N. Todd

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

It seems to me that a few types of businesses in the area that cater to niche markets are beginning/continuing to prosper. Some of these, head shops included, happen to sell items not yet available at Wal-Mart, Target, etc.; perhaps there is a coincidence?

say it plain

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

bingo! or bong-o, whichever! Yes, yes, going into business selling *anything* available at bigbox stores isn't a great idea these days. Apparently going into business to sell special items unavailable there...and possibly ones also which people wouldn't want to buy *online* even if it's a little cheaper there lol...looks like the better bet!


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

How is this adding to the art of downtown. Come people focus art, art, art.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

Some of those high end glass pieces are most definitely art. And functional too so you're getting a twofer lol


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

Just for a parity with this smokeshop glut, I'd like a branch office of the American Lung Association to inquire about opening a branch in downtown A2.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Good one!


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Disappointing news. This type of establishment will not entice me to shop downtown. Are building owners only seeking tenants that cater to college students for nine months of the year? Or tourists? If Ann Arbor is nationally rated as one of the top 5 cities to raise families and retire, where are the downtown stores with product and services for families and retirees?

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Yelp lists their website as a myspace page. So I'm pretty dadgum sure they're not looking to entice the college crowd.

Audion Man

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

I don't think another head shop will put a dent in the oppressive family-friendliness that is Ann Arbor.

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Oh great. Now that the economy tanked, we'll have cigarettes available along with bong and thongs in downtown Ann Arbor. Lovely. What's next, a cathouse?


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I don't think they sell cigs...I think they just sell 'smoking apparatus'.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Wow, what an improvement for the neighborhood! Not.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

What happened to Panic Panic Panic... the sky is falling on E. Liberty?


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

wait for it....


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Pat Robertson will be thrilled.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.