For generations of Ann Arbor people, Drake’s was the first place they ever drank limeade, and the last place they saw selling loose Oreos out of a jar. If you need a Deep Dive Into Drake’s, there is a treasure trove of photos and scanned articles on AADL’s Old News site. Did you know the Bloomfield Candy Shop originally opened at that space, in 1914? Neither did I. Mr. Bloomfield sold it in 1918. Truman Tibbals, the beloved proprietor of Drake’s, acquired it in 1935. No, I don’t know who owned it in the 17 years between. What am I, Wystan? Above: a wonderful gallery of Drake’s in the early 90s, prior to its closing, on Flickr. Drake’s closed in the mid-90s. I was on the Ann Arbor email listserv (I think there was only the one back then?) and word hit the list that Drake’s booths were being removed but would be provided free to a good home. I angled to get one, but couldn’t pick it up soon enough, and it went to Datastat for their employee break room. This is what it looks like today, as a Bruegger’s. Yes, expatriates, Michigan Book & Supply is a nice two-floor Walgreens now. I’ll write about that space at a future date.
I noticed last weekend that the Bank of America branch at the Packard/Eisenhower flatiron is permanently closed. Signage down, paper signs in windows. The branch has been there for years. I believe it was a LaSalle before Bank of America, then Standard Federal, and a Michigan National Bank waaay back. Lately, it seemed to be a frequent robbery target. If you click that Google Maps image up top (in a desktop browser), you can go back to 2007 and see it as a LaSalle Bank branch if you like. I couldn’t find any photos older than that, but check out this Michigan National Bank branch from a black-and-white 1979: Sure, I’d totally trust a little house on State Street with my filthy riches.
Spotted today on South University: fixture since time immemorial, Ulrich’s bookstore is moving, according to all of their windows. A web address is listed for more information but it was raining and I don’t remember what it was. (UPDATE: it’s “ulrichs.com/email” and it just goes to the parent company’s website.) The store announcements section of the website says NOW HIRING, but the last time I saw a store “moving” with a website, it was Blockbuster Video, saying they were “moving to Blockbuster.com.” Hopefully Ulrich’s maintains a local presence? Are we still rooting for college textbook stores these days? More news as I make it up.
I usually just post about quirky local retail stuff on Facebook, which is private, and my friend Melissa said I should write a blog. I didn’t want to put this stuff on my personal site and Namecheap had a special on the domain, so, well, here we are now. I have a degree in Communications, and pretty much everything I know about retail I learned from retail second-jobs. So expect a lot of townie reminiscing and not much insight.