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October 13, 2005 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-13

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Continued from page 13B
What does this say about the Midwest y
in general? To start, it says that there isn't-_
much point in exploring it. Seriously,
besides the fact that different people
attend these universities, every time a
Jimmy John's is built, another campus
becomes a little bit like every other cam-
pus, and the Midwest becomes a bit more
of a generalization. I was ready to get
out of Urbana-Champaign, and head to
Peoria, Ill., to visit my friend at Bradley
University. But even as we pulled into
Peoria, we mostly saw the same old
sites. The last sign we saw heading backs_
to the highway was a big yellow banner,rt
which read "Coming soon: Buffalo Wild
Wings." Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the
fastest growing chains in America, with
more than 340 restaurants in 34 states,
many of which are in college towns.
"They started out in college towns,
they started in Columbus, Ohio in a col-
lege town in 1981. They are reaching
out to larger crowds, like the late night
sports crowd, and families," Liz Brady,
a spokesperson for Buffalo Wild Wings
said. After the kind of success the com-
pany had in 2004, it's not hard to under-
stand why they wantto expand. The total
revenue for the company increased 32
. percent to $48.5 million.
"In the fourth quarter, we continued
to successfully position Buffalo Wild
Wings as the ideal destination for great
food, a lively atmosphere and friendly
service," said Sally Smith, Chief Execu-
tive Officer of Buffalo Wild Wings.
Corporate expansion is nothing new,
but even Ann Arbor - a place that has
long been hailed as the Athens of the Mid-
west - seems to be falling to corporate
Spartans. Over the past year alone, we
have lost Harry's Army Surplus Outdoor
Outfitters, and Underworld Comics and
Games and as of last November, we have
gained a Buffalo Wild Wings. I think
one of my friend's who visited me put the
news of Harry's closing best, "How the
hell can an Army-Navy surplus store go
out of business in a college town?"
Even though it seems like Ann Arbor
is losing this race more slowly than
other places (the Buffalo Wild Wings in
Columbia is almost four and a half years
old, and the one in East Lansing has been
around for over decade) we're not going
to last much longer. I even heard one of
my friends say the other day to a friend
at Michigan State, "I like your Buffalo
Wild Wings much better than ours." Is
this going to be the new mark of the col-
lege campus? When Mr. Fiske sits down
to publish his guide to college towns, is
he going to have to rate the franchises in
the town to the rest in the country, rather
than sampling the University in general?
One of the big reasons I chose to
come all the way to Michigan from
St. Louis was the diverse culture the
city of Ann Arbor had to offer. How
many people are going to want to pay
$36,000 a year to try a maize and
blue Buffalo Wild Wings or Potbelly's
Sandwich Works? A large part of the
campus culture is defined by the vari-
ety of stores and restaurants around
the city. But big corporations can pay
big prices and Ann Arbor is getting
expensive, and before you know it, the
only difference between Ann Arbor
and Columbus, Ohio will be the colors College town succumb to big businesses, like Urban Outfitters, because of rising property costs, while Famiglia Pizza on S
around the mirrors at B-dubs. Jimmy John's in 2004. Potbelly's Sandwich Works, bottom right, opened in Ann Arbor in 2003.

" " " "

tate Street was replaced by

16B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 13, 2005

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