New Businesses Blossoming in Downtown Ferndale
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 9, 2014)
Change is in the air in Downtown Ferndale as new businesses move in to replace departed ones, and new construction adds opportunity to welcome even more merchants and shoppers to the community.
It was not all that long ago that a vacant lot of cracking concrete was the focal point of Woodward and Cambourne Road. Now a series of storefronts and restaurants, the property has a mix of locally-owned franchises and independent business. Dickey’s BBQ Pit, which opened in July, has been joined by Jimmy Johns, Pizza Hut, and SportsClips. Ypsilanti-based Rocket Candy and Novelty Company is opening Friday at 11 am at 23147 Woodward. Their novelty toys, kites, books, jewelry, magnets, key chains and other fun items will grace the shelves of their second location just in time for holiday shopping.
Maria’s announced their departure from Ferndale in November, but the space was quickly filled. Daniel Kahn and his father, the famous heart-healthy Dr. Joel Kahn, announced the purchase of Maria’s Front Room, and the creation of a heart-healthy restaurant. “We will be shutting down for a few months for an amazing new look and will be reopening as GreenSpace Cafe.This will be an all new, plant-based menu,” the younger Kahn said in a press release. The restaurant will include “ no added oil features for the large plant-based nutrition group in Detroit,” the release said. It is expected to open in March.
Across the street those who like meat and grease will be happy to know that Zeke’s Rock and Roll BBQ is coming along. Taking over the old AJs Café space has been a long process of rehabilitation, but the restaurant is coming along. Owner Mike Mouyianis calls Zeke’s a “non-traditional BBQ fusing many styles in a rock-n-roll bar setting.” He said the restaurant should be open “sometime around Xmas…give or take.”
The recent re-opening of Om Café has people excited, as does the Biggby Coffee on the western end of W. 9 Mile. Closures of Sav-A-Lot and Rent-A-Center mean there is space for new businesses to come in. According to Downtown Development Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius the Rent-A-Center location is slated to be divided into smaller storefronts. Naka’s closure in June has also created a vacancy at 171 W Nine Mile Rd, that Sheppard-Decius said owners are hoping to fill with another gift boutique.
Other recent additions include M-Brew, Secreto, the Reiki Healing Center inside Candlewick Shop, and Treasure Trove. And Elegance by Design has moved into a more cozy space across the street to showcase their interior design offerings.
Other businesses on the horizon include Bubble Tea, New World Market Café, and a new beauty parlor called Fern & Dales. There are also plans in the works to convert the school at St. James on Woodward into a senior living facility. Timelines for these projects are not known.
“What we’re seeing for the most part is that when a site becomes available we have a lot of people that are interested. It’s a matter of going through and finding the best businesses. We’ve had success stories of businesses expanding, and we want to see that. First time businesses, no matter where they are, don’t have a high success rate. But when we see businesses expanding we know that things are being done right,” Sheppard-Decius said.
The Ferndale DDA can connect potential business owners with property managers, as well as offer guidance in several areas of business development and promotion. Check out their website to learn more – http://www.downtownferndale.com/.