Sneakers, Smokers, and Suckers

Due to some immature humor at the very end, this post is recommended only for mature audiences. Thanks.

Sorry for the delay. Nothing like a couple weeks of travel, followed by a holiday where you care for a sick loved one and then get sick from the same thing, to make you not get around to sorting through all the photos you took and then making posts out of them. At least we have a lot to talk about this time. Let’s start with…

Motel 6’s Accelerated Slide Into Disrepair

In early December, the driveway chain was down at the old Motel 6 site on State Street; the in-room air conditioner units were gone; and the buildings were beginning to show signs of deterioration.

Since I took these, a demolition crew has begun to level the complex.

Dickey’s Barbeque’s Sudden Closure

Recently I had the urge for some BBQ and soft serve ice cream, a combination unique to Dickey’s, the chain that was located on Washtenaw Avenue, when I discovered that, despite the “NOW OPEN” banner up high over their entrance since their original opening, they were in fact closed:

Closeup of closing announcement and eviction notice at Dickey’s. (C)A2RS

Mr. Alan’s on Washtenaw has rebranded to “Snipes”

I caught the day the Mr. Alan’s sign came down on Washtenaw:

Exterior of Mr. Alan’s with sign coming down. (C)A2RS

For a couple of days the store had only an “Open” banner over the door, but that was soon supplanted with a new permanent sign for its new owner: “SNIPES.” I assume it’s a portmanteau of sneakers and stripes, but as you know, I try not to do too much research for this blog.

Snipes is a German chain specializing in American streetwear, that expanded into the US last year by buying Mr. Alan’s and a similar regional giant, Kicks USA. American streetwear is huge business overseas. For my first few years on Twitter, most of my my mistagged tweets were not from overly enthusiastic July 4 partiers, but from Dutch sneakerheads peeping the latest styles at “Britain,” a similar chain based in the Netherlands. The chain eventually changed their name to “Go-Britain.”

Mr. Alan’s will be remembered for its ubiquitous local-TV ads and 2-for-$50 pricing:

Belleville KMart is closing/maybe closed by now

Exterior of the Belleville Big K. (C)A2RS

I stopped by the liquidation sale at the Belleville KMart between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As with most of these sales the store was now being run by a dedicated liquidation firm, was not honoring gift cards, and the food counter was closed. Retail Flickr has a million photo sets of Kmarts in their death throes — two or three of them are my own sets — and I wouldn’t have had much to add by taking a bunch of photos in this one. I did snap a couple, to show you the vast, empty sales floor:

Everything the light touches. (C)A2RS

Can you see that enormous poster of hitmaker Adam Levine by the door to the Garden Center? Here’s a closeup because I know you love him. I’m pretty sure this is him despite the fact that he’s wearing a shirt:

“The Adam Shop” was a sticker to cover up a contest announcement, so Adam’s portrait could continue to be used after the contest ended. (C)A2RS

Though the store advertised all toys discounted 60%, I spotted this Nerf Star Wars Chewbacca Blaster Rifle ($26 on Amazon at time of research) marked with an original price of $44.00, which brings it to about the same price as Amazon with the discount. (The preceding link is not an affiliate link, I don’t make any money off this blog– I provide it only for price comparison.)

For those keeping track, there is exactly one KMart left in Michigan. As with other stories of “hey look, this KMart is still open,” it’s flourishing in an area with no other competition nearby and residents that distrust Amazon. It’s about an hour west of us on I-94 in Marshall, home of Dark Horse Brewing and Win Schuler’s.Frankly, this all screams “TRIIIIIP REEEEPOOOOORT” to me, so look forward to that sometime this spring.

Speaking of Trip Reports: Is the Chelsea SoS really worth it?

For years I had heard that the Chelsea SoS was a line-free oasis and a viable alternative to waiting for service at the Ann Arbor office. I tried it in October when I had to reup for work (I fly frequently for my new job, so I figured I should get a new license with the RealID Star now and get it out of the way).

So I texted in and got in the Virtual Line for the A2 location, then drove to Chelsea, because it’s three exits/20 minutes from the Ann Arbor one. (Chelsea’s office allows you to make an appointment some weeks in advance, but does not offer the Virtual Line option that Ann Arbor does.) It’s in the back of a little shopping center with a Post Office, a bike shop, a locally owned pharmacy, a locally-owned computer store, a hair salon, and the Chelsea Tree House play center (“You know, for kids”).

Anyway, the Chelsea SOS’ actual office is a little smaller office than Ann Arbor, but it seemed to contain almost as many waiting people. I imagined at least half of them coming from Ann Arbor to “avoid the line.” I ended up going back to A2 and killing a little time browsing in the newer Maple Village stores near the Ann Arbor SoS, though I did not go in Dollar Tree.

If you decide to visit the Chelsea SoS, I recommend you book an appointment online and then make a day of it. Tour the Jiffy Mix factory. Eat at Smokehouse 52 or the Chelsea Jet’s Pizza, which, like all Jet’s locations, serves “Sicilian-by-way-of-Detroit” pizza but is otherwise much different from other Jet’s locations in three important ways:

  • Dine-In Seating
  • Ridiculous selection of beers on tap
  • TV with “Star Wars” on loop in all restrooms

Leo’s Heads West

Exterior of Meijer outlot building with “Coming Soon: Leo’s Coney” banner. (C)A2RS

They’re finishing the second outlot building between Meijer and Zeeb Road, and it’s going to have a Leo’s Coney Island. OOOOOOOOPA!

When Arbor Vacuum Needed to Fix Their Sign

It’s fixed now, but for a minute there I thought Jeff Daniels was making a sequel to “Super Sucker.”

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