Business Spotlight: Found

When you step foot in Found, a charming antique and gift shop in Kerrytown, it’s easy to draw comparisons between the store and the city in which it resides.

For example: Ann Arbor is home to individuals with a vast array of backgrounds and stories and past lives. In one short walk through the downtown neighborhoods, you’re almost guaranteed to find students who arrived in Ann Arbor from New York City or California, business owners who came to make use of the vibrant downtown atmosphere, and children who have never known Ann Arbor as anything but home.

Found has a similarly eclectic nature: One lap around the store, and you’ll find a bright orange electrical box that hails from Ted’s Garage in Ypsilanti, a handmade satchel constructed from leather from WWII gun slings and vintage fabric from the late 1800s, and a made-in-Michigan reclaimed wood sign that reads, “The Lake House.”

These people and products all hold different origin stories, but, somehow all found themselves in a Midwestern college town. Perhaps the love that the people of Ann Arbor have for Found, then, is partly because the shop is a microcosm of the city itself. It’s a quirky, idiosyncratic place, but one step inside and you feel welcomed as if it’s your own home.

 

Found has existed as a brick-and-mortar store in Kerrytown since 2005, but for founder and owner Mary Cambruzzi, it has always existed— at first, as a seedling of an idea forming in the back of her mind.

“I grew up going to auction sales with my grandfather even when I was a little girl,” she recalls. “I always enjoyed rearranging my room and doing things like that, so I think it kind of came naturally out of that.”

As Cambruzzi grew up, so did her passion for display, and her desire to rearrange her bedroom turned into a desire to rearrange her booth at an antique shop.

“I had certain kinds of vintage things that I really liked, but what I enjoyed more than anything was display,” she explains. “I had a little booth and I found myself always wanting to kind of rearrange other people’s booths to make them look better, but, of course, I couldn’t do that.”

Cambruzzi took this desire and molded it into a concrete goal. In 2005, she opened Found, an entire shop over which she could exert her creative influence. From the very beginning, Cambruzzi ensured that every aspect of Found was evidence of her careful eye and creative spirit.

“When I first started thirteen years ago, my concept was to have vintage or antique things that had a modern vibe and modern use for them, plus work by artists who use recycled and reclaimed things,” she says. “I would find things that were in terrible shape or dirty, buy them at good prices, spend the time to clean them up, and then resell them in the shop.”

Eventually, Found grew beyond that initial concept, as Cambruzzi began to sell things like candles and homegoods that she sourced from wholesale shows and markets, tables from recycled materials made by Paul Hickman at Urban Ashes, and artwork from local artists like Chris Roberts-Antieau.

However, throughout its expansion, Found never lost the distinct aesthetic that comes from its origins as an antique shop.

“I think what kind of sets us apart is the combination of things,” Cambruzzi notes. “I’m always looking for things that kind of fit with the aesthetic that we’ve gotten to be known for, which is things with good, clean, simple lines, an uncluttered look. I walk by most showrooms or most aisles in showrooms and don’t see anything that I think would be perfect for this store. I think, okay, I like those, but they don’t fit with what I’m doing.”

 

Found was formed thanks to Camrbuzzi’s passion and creativity, but what does she cite as the reason for its continued success?

“I have the best customers,” she says confidently, referring to the Ann Arbor residents and visitors who regularly visit her store. “It’s a city where people like things that are a little bit different than what they see every place else. Just as an example, we have a lot of kind of sciencey kinds of gifts, and with Ann Arbor being such a well-educated community, it’s easy to sell smart gifts like that.”

She also notes that businesses in Ann Arbor foster a particularly supportive community for one another. “When I go to shows to buy, or when I’m buying from an artist, I always ask who else in Ann Arbor carries them, and if somebody else does, I don’t,” she explains. “There’s a whole group of us who does that. We’ve kind of made an informal pledge to each other that we’re not going to have exactly the same things. That makes it better for our customers, so they’re able to shop a whole group of stores and see so many things that are different, rather than going from one store to the next and seeing the same thing in each of them.”

This type of policy, that values customer experience over, perhaps, profitability or competitiveness, makes perfect sense in a city that is known for its sense of community. Cambruzzi made a smart business decision in choosing to open her whimsical, charismatic shop in a whimsical, charismatic town.

DDA Parking Structure Maintenance and Repair Work

This summer and fall, the DDA will be undertaking important preventative maintenance and repair work in several public parking structures. The goal is to take care of the little things along the way so they don’t become big things. Extending the life of these important downtown assets is a top priority for the DDA.

This year’s work will focus on the Liberty Square, Ann Ashley, Maynard, and Library Lane parking structures. The scope of work will include concrete repairs, joint work, and the application of deck coating. We anticipate the work being complete in late fall.

If you are a regular user of the parking system, please pardon our dust and noise. Throughout the work our parking operator Republic Parking will coordinate with the contractor to manage the projects so that the impact to available parking is minimal.

DDA Launches Mobile Parking App

 

 

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority Launches Mobile Parking App

epark Ann Arbor app makes paying for parking easier at over 1500 spots around Ann Arbor

 

In support of its mission to strengthen downtown Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announced today the launch of Ann Arbor’s first mobile payment application for parking, epark Ann Arbor.  The DDA has made downloading and using the application free for all parkers, with no upcharge or convenience fees, as may be found in other cities.

Parkers will be able to easily download the epark Ann Arbor app to their phone and pay for parking with a debit or credit card without having to visit an epark payment station.  This app will also enable patrons to extend their parking sessions remotely, receive notifications when their session is low on time, and get email receipts.

“We are eager to launch the app because we know that it will be a great way to ease concerns some may have about parking, and make it that much easier to enjoy downtown,” said Susan Pollay, DDA Executive Director.  Epark payment stations are located in and around downtown Ann Arbor, serving on-street public parking spaces and certain parking lots.  The epark app is available for use with any epark metered space in Ann Arbor.

The epark Ann Arbor app also offers a convenient digital wallet feature, enabling parkers to add funds directly to the app and use them for paying for parking.  When they pay using the prepaid wallet, the transaction is simply deducted from their pre-funded account rather than being charged to a credit or debit card.

The epark Ann Arbor app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play. Users can also manage their parking online at eparka2.com.

The mission of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is to undertake public improvements that have the greatest impact in strengthening the downtown area and attracting new private investments. For more information on DDA programs and projects visit www.a2dda.org

South University Streetscape Project is Underway!

The DDA has begun work on the South University Streetscape improvement project!

Mother Nature had some problems with our intended schedule.  The rain this past week was not helpful to the construction progress.  However, Fonson Company (our contractor) did take advantage of the few good days to set up the construction zone and saw-cut the pavement to prepare for concrete/roadway removals.   Necessary first steps that set the stage for future work.

Next week’s work (weather permitting!) will include removing concrete on the north side (1200 and 1300 blocks) of South U., as well as beginning underground water main work in the roadway.

Updates will be happening regularly on our website and social media feeds.

More information on the project can be found here:

https://newa2dda.pairsite.com/current-projects/south-university-street-design/

 

Construction on South University

On-Street Bicycle Racks

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY INSTALLS ON-STREET BICYCLE RACKS FOR 2017

In support of its mission to strengthen downtown Ann Arbor, the DDA has begun installation of its on-street bicycle parking.  Each bicycle rack provides parking for 14 people, taking up the same space as one car.  The racks are located in an existing on-street parking spot, and will remain in place until foul weather returns.

The first five racks will be installed this weekend in front of Bivouac, Mighty Good Coffee Co., Zingerman’s, the People’s Food Co-op, and Spencer.

These businesses reached out to the DDA to request on-street bike parking for their customers.  The DDA will install an additional four racks this year, and are actively working with businesses to determine locations.

The DDA welcomes feedback about bicycle parking.  If you have a location you would like to recommend, or have a question or concerns about existing bike parking options, reach out to Amber Miller (amiller@a2dda.org).

Summer 2016 Structure Maintenance Work

We will soon be beginning our annual preventative maintenance work in many of the downtown parking structures.  Our goal is take care of the little things along the way so that they don’t become big things.  This year work will include removing and replacing concrete on walls and columns, sealing cracks and joints, applying deck coating, and miscellaneous repairs.

 

Work will begin at Liberty Square in early June with a focus on deck coatings. Work will continue throughout the summer and include repairs at the Ann Ashley, Library Lane and Maynard structures.  Work is scheduled to be complete in early October.

 

Throughout the work Republic Parking will coordinate with the contractor to manage the projects so that the impact to available parking is minimal. We greatly appreciate the patience of our parkers and neighbors during this work.

Bike Rack Installation

Spring is finally here! This means we have started installing additional sidewalk bike hoops and on-street racks in the downtown area. We plan to install over 50 standard inverted U bike hoops and have already installed the on-street bike racks for the spring season.

Bike

This season’s racks are currently located at:

  • 300 S. State Street near Bivouac
  •  200 N. Main Street near Mighty Good Coffee
  •  200 W. Liberty near Bill’s Beer Garden
  • 400 Detroit Street near Zingerman’s
  • 200 S. Fourth Ave by Transition Rack
  • 300 N 4th Avenue near Braun Court
  • 200 N 4th Avenue near the People’s Food Co-op

We place these racks out during the warm weather season with the enthusiasm and support of adjacent businesses. Together we see tremendous value in converting a single car parking space or unused curbside space into 14 bike spaces – providing more customers, visitors, and employees with convenient spaces close to their destination.

We would love your feedback. If you know of a location that could use an on-street bike rack or permanent sidewalk bike hoop, contact Amber Miller at amiller@a2dda.org.

 

 

Farmers Market and State Theatre Funding

On February 3rd, The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority approved grants to two iconic institutions in Downtown Ann Arbor – the State Theatre and Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

Later this year, the Farmers Market will begin construction on a new structure that will expand market operations and improve community event space, particularly in the winter months. The DDA granted $175,000 to help construct this beneficial public project identified through the City’s Capital Improvement Plan and Market Advisory Commission. “The DDA’s grant provided crucial final funding needed to enable Parks & Recreation to move forward with this project,” said Market Manager Sarah DeWitt.

farmer market new

In its 97th season, the Farmers Market serves as a vital retail venue for local food producers to engage with the community every week of the year.

Later this year, the Michigan Theater Foundation will revitalize the historic State Theatre building – improving accessibility and adding new movie screens. The $200,000 DDA grant will be used to restore a vital piece of the downtown landscape, the Art Deco Marquee.  Lee Berry, the Michigan Theater’s Chief Development Officer noted that, “The DDA’s important contribution enables us to complete the exterior restoration at the level of excellence that the downtown community deserves.”

state theater new

The Michigan Theater Foundation purchased the second floor of the State Theatre in 2014 to preserve, restore, and operate the historic theater designed by renowned architect C. Howard Crane.  The State is scheduled to re-open in early 2017.

These important projects will further the mission and goals of the DDA by improving the pedestrian experience, encouraging increased activity downtown, and enhancing the identity of the Kerrytown and State Street neighborhoods.

 

2015 Parking Structure Maintenance Work Complete

Thank you!
The DDA is committed to ongoing maintenance in the parking facilities with the goal of extending the useful life of the garages and minimizing the potential of major structural deterioration.    With this goal in mind, the DDA annually takes on important structure repairs called out by our engineers.    This summer and fall, the DDA performed necessary and important maintenance work in four of the parking structures.   By taking care of things early, the issues don’t become big problems.
We appreciate your patience and support as we do this work.
It’s interesting to note that this year’s work included:
Applying 65,000 square feet of deck coating
Applying 275,000 square feet of deck sealer
Applying 42,600 linear feet of sealant
Repairing 1,500+ square feet of concrete

Parking Structure Maintenance

Beginning in July and continuing into fall the DDA will be overseeing its regularly scheduled maintenance work in many public parking structures.  The work includes replacing and repairing concrete, sealing cracks, reapplying deck coating, painting and stair work and will total more than $800,000. Our goal is to take care of the little things along the way so they don’t become big things. This reinvestment ensures the continued health of an important part of downtown infrastructure.
While this work will necessitate certain areas within the structures being closed to parking, monthly permit holders will always be able to park with their permits.  We will also be diligent to keep the footprint of the work contained as much as possible to allow for ample hourly parking.  Specific timing and project information will be posted at each location as work begins there.  We appreciate your patience while this important work is being done.
Areas of focus this year will include-
• Concrete repairs and coating work in the Maynard Street stairwell.
• Sealant work at the roof level of the Forest structure.  Waterproofing and coatings work inside the structure, as well as façade work.
• Concrete repairs and coating work at 4th & Washington.
• Concrete repairs at the Ann Ashley structure.