I have been encouraged by multiple readers to comment on the sudden closure of three Babo locations. Babo was a market/cafe from Sava, of popular restaurants Sava’s and Aventura, that eventually expanded to premium convenience stores in Nickels Arcade, Boardwalk Drive, and Depot Town — areas that could use take-and-go, ready to eat meals and high-end snacks.
I don’t know why they closed, but I’m always happy to guess. I’m sure the rent for the spaces was not trivial, and it was probably difficult to compete with other nearby convenience stores, most of them global chains like 7-Eleven and Circle K, on price. I really like baked kale chips, but they’re still too expensive for me to buy frequently as a filling midday snack.
Manpower may have been a factor too – it’s tough to find reliable and affordable employees when students leave for the summer — actually, it’s increasingly difficult during the school year, as greater numbers of U-M students from wealthy families arrive in town with enough money not to have to work. Eastern Michigan students are more eager to work, but downtown parking fees can make a significant hit on your daily wages.
Perhaps the #GoBlueGuarantee will bring more resident students who need part time jobs.