December 15, 2011 By Krista Gjestland The YPSILANTI Courier
New owners have transformed the former J. Neils Mongolian Grille in Ypsilanti from an empty space to a pop-up food and craft market.
The Mix Marketplace held its first “Shop by Candlelight” market Wednesday night, which will continue 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The market rents booths to vendors who sell locally made, artisan products including some well-established area businesses such as The Ypsi Food Co-op, Zingermans in Ann Arbor and The Ugly Mug Café and Roastery, from Ypsilanti.
Ypsilanti residents Leslie Leland and Bonnie Penet own Mix, a new and used clothing and art store at 130 W. Michigan Ave, and grew tired of looking at the empty space across the street from them.
“When J. Neils went out, we were really disappointed because it made this huge dark corner across the street from us,” Leland said. “We wanted to see the corner bustling again. So we just decided that we were going to take the space.”
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I would also like to add my comment here.
This is exactly what Mary Portas, in her review, is talking about, proactive shop owners.
These people, Leslie Leland and Bonnie Penet, realised that an empty shop in their street, and one that had been empty for a year, was having a detrimental effect on the entire area, including their own business.
“. . we were really disappointed because it made this huge dark corner across the street from us,” Leland said. “We wanted to see the corner bustling again. So we just decided that we were going to take the space.”
So they took it over and opened a pop up food and craft market, it certainly ticks all of Marys’ boxes, a disused shop being given new life, local shop/business owners doing something about it, and best of all, markets.
Now, whilst they obviously had the resources to do something, they also, more importantly, had the vision to make a change. They understand the impact locally of empty shops in their street, and rather than simply looking at them day in day out waiting for somebody else to do something, they took control.
Now if we could just get the Landlords/councils too have a vision, perhaps we could see others taking the same initiative in our high streets.
mill worker No2
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