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Posted on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Primo Coffee House closes after 9 years in Ypsilanti Township

By Katrease Stafford

Primo Coffee House in Ypsilanti Township closed its doors permanently last Monday.


Primo Coffee House in Ypsilanti Township has closed after being open for nine years.

Courtesy Facebook

Primo Coffee was located at 1816 Whittaker Road in the Paint Creek Crossing shopping complex.

Carl Grenadier, a representative for Grenadier Properties, said the owner began moving out of the 1,500-square-foot space shortly after Jan.1.

"He was one of the original tenants who opened in 2003," Grenadier said. "The owner cited that business was down and consequently couldn't generate enough revenue to pay his expenses."

According to the Grenadier's website, to rent a 1,400-square-foot space within Paint Creek Crossing, prices begin at $2,275 per month. Grenadier leases between 1,400 and 6,800-square-foot spaces.

Ypsilanti Township Planning Director Joe Lawson said Primo received its certificate of occupancy on April 15, 2004.

"It is my understanding that Primo has been operating reduced hours in recent times," Lawson said.

Grenadier said his company plans on re-leasing to another tenant after the space is completely vacated.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.

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dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

there is a dark colored bmw parked infront of primo. i noticed it when i drove by one morning shortly after the 1st of the year. it was sort of plowed in. it's still there, 14 days later, the windows are all frosted up and hasn't moved in at least 2 weeks... does it have anything to do with primo? an owner's car?

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 2:23 a.m.

car was repo'd over friday night.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 6:28 a.m.

That area, and/or that mall behind Huron Plaza gas station needs a major store to bring people in. How many pizza joints, coffee shops, coney islands, etc do we need in those areas? A nice hardware store is sorely needed out that way, the population could more than support it. How about a book store/magazine rack? A chain restaurant or another location for a popular local restaurant would be great. Aubrees is nice, but it doesn't cut it for eateries. That area of the township is loaded with people, who would like to spend their money locally and not have to haul into ann arbor or canton to shop.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

Do you realize downtown Ypsilanti is 1 mile further down Huron and has EVERYTHING you just asked for?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 5 a.m.

You couldn't pay ME to open a coffee shop in a strip mall. Theres just something wrong with it and I'm not trying to be a snob but from an access standpoint they usually make it a challenge for the to get in and out and ergo itsa no go. I've seen so many coffee shops come and go. I predict the plethora of micro brewerys are next.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

How dare you speak ill of any microbrewery! Blasphemy!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

Will miss Primo's Coffee dearly. Was a great LOCALLY RAN and OPERATED Coffee House. Hope B-24's --another local coffee house-- moves into the location and takes Primo's place. Either way, don't let it become the next spot for corporate operated Starbucks.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 7:22 a.m.

What's a Baloon? Also, maybe you should tell your "theory" to the local owners of Sidetrack, Frenchies, Aubree's, Full House Burgers or other small business eateries. Somehow, I bet they would disagree with you.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

Ypsi girl - Sorry to blow up your baloon, but corporate companies have a much greater chance at success than a mom and pop operation. Get used to it and move on.:)

Ypsi Eastsider

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

Goofus, the reason there is no bus service to the Kroger or Library is the elected officials in the Township don't want to pay for bus service.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 7:18 a.m.

JBK, Reading is a fundamental skill, you obviously don't have.... "the reason there is no bus service to the Kroger or Library is the elected officials in the Township don't want to pay for bus service.", said Ypsi Eastsider. Ypsilanti Township Elected officials didn't end the former bus route. The federal grant funding for the bus service route depleted. But....don't let those facts stand in your way about what taxpayers pay for, where and when....when it had NOTHING to do with Ypsi Eastsider initial comment.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:31 a.m.

Ypsi girl - Federal grant is only a cover for TAXPAYER expense. Is it not? Who feeds the Feds? Taxpayers do.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

WRONG --- The reason that their is not a bus route in that area of the Township is because the federal grant funding the former bus route, was not renewed. Learning the facts instead of inventing fiction, is a really good thing to do.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

Maybe having a bus that went to that area...a busy shopping center with a Krogers...might have helped business. Why does AATA seemingly not have any real routes in Ypsi Township that side of 94 is the deeper news story I'd like to see next!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Real simple, Ypsi Township does not want to pay their share to operate.

Rob MI

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:23 a.m.

There was bus service down here several years ago. By recollection, it ran down Huron, stopped at the library, and also hit up township hall before going back north. I think it lasted less than a year and was unceremoniously pulled. As a south shore resident, I was going to count on that as a way to get to work in the winter if the snow got so bad that I wanted to minimize my driving. I never got a chance to do that.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:39 a.m.

That what I have been saying all along. We need bus service into that area to Whittaker Road library. But is anyone listening? I didn't think so.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

I miss Hercs...


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

To add to the list: Brahma Steak House (the old Smokehouse Blues) looks like it is closed, too. Sign out front reads "Maiz" (some sort of Mexican cantina).


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

Gotta be an improvement! Did everyone else like me think Brahma was the worst name ever for a steakhouse?

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

Step on up and roll the die!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Sweetwaters Cafe is opening in the space where Ted's Pill n' Things used to be. Great coffee.

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

Ralph is correct. According to our previous coverage, the shop should be opening this month:


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Sorry to see Primo go. Nice local business that had a real neighborhood feel. Wishing good luck to G and his crew. Heard that LaFuente is purchasing the former Baker's Square/Ram's Horn/Kerby building. They intend on using it as their primary restaurant while using their current location for banquets. Does anyone know the status of this? It would be a good news if true.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 6:23 a.m.

I always thought that baker's square building was poorly placed there. It's not very big to begin with, the parking is difficult with the Kroger right there. I hope they can make it a go. Most importantly in that mall is the new pole dancing studio. That's got to be a major draw.

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

Here's a link to our previous coverage of the location that Lefty66 mentioned: It will be interesting to find out if someone has plans for the space.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

That would be cool. I have to believe something could give that building a go.

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

Thanks, Lefty66. I'm following up on this.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

$2275 for 1400 square feet was the shop owner's main expense, pretty much double what's realistic in this business enviroment. One wonders why Carl didn't work with them to keep them, especially after a nine year relationship.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

There can be a myriad of reasons why Primo failed, and I have no axe to grind with Grenadier Properties, but this does not change the fact that the rate quoted ($20 a foot) is unreasonable.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

I worked closely with Carl and Grenadier Properties when I reopened the New Zoo Play Cafe last year in the same building as Primo. He did work a deal on our rent, and was very flexible. Sadly, when the warm weather hit, the moms took their kids to the park to play instead of to the New Zoo, and we couldn't make expenses, so we had to close. I wouldn't blame it on Carl Grenadier, I'd fault this terrible economy. I also knew Primo's owner, and we didn't have an elaborate array of coffee at the New Zoo because I didn't want to undercut his coffee business. As small businessmen, we were all facing a tough fight, and I'm saddened by this news. If you want to fix blame, I'd say the political class has failed us, big time.

Steven Taylor

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

Same reason that the Joe Hall Drive development is still less than 50% occupied behind the marathon gas station at Whittaker Rd/94. While the township supports many residents in it's numerous subdivisions, people will shop elsewhere and are likely just looking to get home as opposed to shop in the township (Although I shop at the Krogers in Paint Creek weekly).


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

Not closely related, but the Baskin Robbins on Plymouth Road closed permanently on December 24.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

Susan, According to the employees at the W. Stadium location (which has been around for a long time) the two locations were "combined" into one.

Susan Montgomery

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

I believe there's as sign on their door that they have moved to Stadium?

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Thanks, YpsiLivin. We're looking into it.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

Time for the Ugly Mug to expand!

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Primo Coffee also operates the Tasty Greens cafe inside Ann Arbor's city hall. I'm checking with city officials right now to see if that will continue. Here's the story from September 2011 when they were getting set to open the new cafe.

Steven Taylor

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

They had also previously leased space from the Whittaker Road YDL which is now occupied by B-24's. Which is doing quite well from what I've seen as a regular customer both downtown and at the YDL.

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Sara Higgins, assistant to city administrator, just told me the Tasty Greens cafe will remain open for business in city hall. The cafe's normal hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. and they offer coffee, smoothies, salads, and wraps, etc.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Too bad this closed. This place seemed to survive when the parking lot design was the enemy and has failed now that it seems to have been been somewhat corrected. Lots of turnover in that plaza - and still places that have never once been occupied since it was built.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

"While I cant blame the access (or lack of access) to the center as the sole reason (Kroger after all, is always packed and people get in)" People get into Kroger because otherwise where is the nearest grocery shopping center? I go to that Kroger at least once per week but usually later in the evening. Otherwise, I avoid that strip mall like the plague. Horrible access off of Whitaker road and even when you are driving through it's a complete clustler-bleep with the way the parking lot is structured (especially on the north end where Primo was). I can't imagine how an in-and-out place like a coffee shop managed to survive for as long as it did?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

While I cant blame the access (or lack of access) to the center as the sole reason (Kroger after all, is always packed and people get in) for business issues I would agree and say that the layout of the shopping center is much more difficult than it needed to be. Changes seem to make things worse and I know many who will not go into the center until after 6:30 during the week because getting out and going northbound on whittaker is next to impossible during rush. There is one alternate way out but its anti-intuitive to most drivers to circle the entire center to get out when they got in so easy. Overall, the design on this center and others on whittaker road in the past ten years has been, as my teenagers would say, a total fail. Suffice to say, if the township ever develops anothe plot with similar zoning, it should be under scrutiny during the design phase.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

I agree somewhat. The parking lot and road system at that location make what initially appears to be a great location difficult to get too. The closest entrance from Whittaker used to be accessible from either direction. Then they changed it so that it could only be used from the north. Unfortunately, morning traffic (when people want coffee) is going north and the only way to legally get to Primo was to take one of the other entrances and meander through the various parking lots. In my opinion, the parking lot changes probably hurt their business.

Bob Krzewinski

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

I stiopped going there after one day when I was in line but apparently a friend of the staff came in behind me. They served them right away and I walked out never to come back. Even sent an email to their comment segment on their webpage but heard nothing back.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

I went to Primo nearly every day for the past three years, and saw far more bad customers than bad customer service. That "apparent" friend could have been me, a mere regular. There were times I was waiting in line behind people who were taking their sweet ol' time, and ordering the most labor-intensive drinks on the menu. While waiting for the steamer or toaster to finish, or some such task, the harried barista would hand me my usual cup of coffee--gasp!--before I actually reached the register. They knew I would leave the line, add my cream and sugar, then wait to pay after the crowd cleared out. That's the closest I've ever seen to a "friend" getting served first. I always found the staff to be friendly and helpful, and they seemed to do their best to help people promptly. I'm really going to miss them and their yummy coffee.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Good for you. I would have done the same thing if someone behind me was served first after I had been waiting.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

Sad to hear! The coffee was good and the staff friendly.