State & Hill Shakedown Got Me Thinking About Records

Two fixtures of the Packard/State/Hill triangle recently closed their doors somewhat quietly.

Quickie Burger went quickly into the night in July. Quickie originally succeeded Tubby’s Submarines in the State/Hill corner spot about a decade ago. It was initially criticized for its signage – a woman riding a hamburger — along with predictable risqué puns in its advertising.

“Come in for a Quickie,” or something, I don’t know. (C)Quickie Burger, stolen from their ghost town of a Facebook.

It was an ok burger/beer place, if a little expensive. Recent weeks had seen store signage hinting at new management, a new menu, and the elimination of alcohol. (If you go way back, you may remember this restaurant as Geppetto’s Pizza.)

Around the corner, PJ’s Records suddenly closed when their landlord immediately terminated their lease. I learned about this disappointing news through Arwulf, Ann Arbor’s most beloved radio personality:

Screencap’t from Theodore Grenier (Arwulf’s) Facebook; click through to see the original post.

It’s hard to imagine a time when so many used and new record stores thrived in this town. State Street alone boasted PJ’s, Wazoo, Discount Records, State Discount (a chain variety store located in a number of college towns, with a music selection alongside the simple apparel, food, and household supplies you would find now at CVS or Walgreens), as well as Schoolkids In Exile during its brief run. Of those, Wazoo is the sole survivor.

“Stephen Bergman & Others Inside Schoolkids’ Records, September 5, 1998.” (C)The Ann Arbor News

Liberty Street had the original Schoolkids Records, SKR Classical, Borders 01, Encore Recordings, and the relative newcomer, now stalwart, Underground Sounds. (Full disclosure: I am fond of Underground Sounds and spent a lot of money at its sister stores as a young person with more income and fewer expenses.)

South University had Michigan Wherehouse Records, in the second-floor space above Good Time Charley’s now occupied by Cantina; as well as a brief presence from Royal Oak’s Play It Again Records and a franchise of Disc-Go-Round. I bet I’m forgetting some others. Of course, most people probably think of Tower Records when they think of music stores on South U, but a handful of locals may remember that the Galleria, Tower’s home, originally opened with Tracks, a different chain record store, on the ground floor. They closed pretty quickly after Tower moved in upstairs. Tower probably deserves another post of its own.

3 Replies to “State & Hill Shakedown Got Me Thinking About Records”

    1. Crap. It was Tubbys. Dang. I remember going to Blimpie when I was little.

      The old Frank’s on the west side is looking ready for something new.

      The George on Packard….still promising retail?

      Stone School and Ellsworth looks like they are ready for the vote in November.

      Speedway is openimg a new cafe at State and Ellsworth.

      That weird building in front of the Hyatt…still no movement.

      More building going on next to Gift of Life.

  1. Thanks Dave! It may cheer you to learn that I too remember a Blimpie Subs location in Ann Arbor. It was on East Liberty between Fourth Ave and Main Street. It’s either the 826 Michigan Robot Supply Store or Spencer the fancy cheese place now. One of those two storefronts was Blimpie, way way back like 20 years ago.

    There was also a Blimpie Subs inside a gas station at Carpenter and Michigan Ave., across from Sam’s Club. I know their locations because I always liked them a little better than Subway. You could watch them slice the meat when they made your sandwich. Plus they had sweet peppers, which, who has sweet peppers anymore? Nobody! The Speedy Cafe sure doesn’t (I dropped a post about them right after this one. I basically published all of July’s pieces on the night of July 31. I’d love to say I was trying a Netflix full-season binge thing, but the simple fact is I would start a post, then something else happened and I wanted to write a separate post about that but never finished the previous post.)

    I had all kinds of plans to use all the free time I was supposed to have this summer to borrow my brother’s drone and get some shots inside the old Frank’s site and the new Circle K. Frank’s is flat and Circle K is rapidly becoming a full building, and you know the rest. A lot of irons in the fire.

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