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April 13, 2006 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-04-13

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Best Bookstore
Borders Books and Music
By Inraan Syed | Daily Staff Writer

Best Apparel
Bivouac
By Rachel Common 1 Daily Staff Writer

Borders carries a vast assortment of books, DVDs and CDs.

U sually when University stu-
dents think about bookstores,
Bbrders Books and Music on
Liberty Street is not the first that
comes to mind. With their back-
packs, dorm rooms and poor brains
overrun with thick, hardcover vol-
umes of course textbooks, it's easy
to understand why. Students must
make that dreaded book run to text-
book stores at the beginning of every
semester and stand in lines worthy
of Cedar Point at Shaman Drum
or Ulrich's only to drop $400 on
reminders of how little sleep they'll
get for the next four months. Given
this unfortunate reality of other area
bookstores, it really should come as
no surprise readers chose Borders as
their favorite.
Though it's now a nationwide
chain and partnered with Amazon.
com, the one of the web's largest
retailers, Borders began in 1971
as an independent store right there
on Liberty Street. Even today, the
store maintains many aspects of its
unique history. Though it is a full-
sized bookstore - complete with a
coffee-shop and couches - Borders
does not immediately overwhelm as
a warehouse-like suburban Barnes
and Noble might.
Every book in the world seems to
be within arm's reach and, should
one prove difficult to find, employ-
ees patrol every corner, seemingly
elated to offer assistance. They
should all be delighted to have this
honor bestowed upon their store
because they played a large part in
earning it. Regardless of the selec-
tion of books or the amicability of
ambience, good service is the most
important asset a bookstore can
have.
The employees and managers of
the store are not permitted to make
recorded comments to the media,
but, upon learning of the honor, Vin
Altruda, president of Borders Group
U.S. said, "It is especially meaning-
ful to receive this recognition from
students because Borders got its
start here on the U of M campus in

1971. Our values have not changed
from those early days. We remain
committed to the idea of connect-
ing books and readers; passionate
about the importance of literacy and
culture; dedicated to the extraordi-
nary power of books and committed
to being a responsible neighbor and
partner in communities like Ann
Arbor where we live, work and do
business."
And it is this "literacy and cul-
ture" that makes Borders so special.
A trip to Borders is an exercise in
leisure, a conscious effort by a stu-
dent to purchase reading he will
enjoy. The trip itself is an experi-
ence; browsing tables of new books
everyone is talking about and clas-
sics worthy of re-reading serves as
an agreeable change of pace from
the usual, regimented run of course-
work and studying. From browsing
to reading to lounging and sipping a
cup of Seattle's Best coffee, it's easy
to pass away several peaceful hours
at the store and not even know it.
Needless to say, a trip to a text-
book store like Michigan Book
and Supply, with its winding lines,
strictly scholarly selection and over-
all feeling of schoolwork, just does
not compare.
But of course, Borders is more
than just a bookstore. It is also one
of the few places on campus to pur-
chase new DVD releases and even
carries most popular CD titles.
Because of its well-rounded and
community rather than curriculum-
minded atmosphere, Borders is more
of a destination, not a quick stop on
the way somewhere else, as textbook
stores often are. This is where area
fans gathered for the long-awaited
release of "Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince" last July and
it'll be where both the faithful and
fascinated will flock to garner more
background once the movie based
on the novel "The Da Vinci Code"
is released this May. In selection,
atmosphere and its fine service,
Borders represents the upside of lit-
erature proudly.

L ocal Ann Arborites have come
to:rust Bivouac as the place
o tall their outdoor sporting
needs - the store truly provides for
the most diehard of outdoorsmen.
Just do a little browsing and you'll
find everything from hiking boots,
backpacks and Patagonia windbreak-
ers to cross country skis, sleeping
bags, travel books and trail maps.
More than just a haven for out-
doorsy types, Bivouac has a lot
more to offer - namely a collec-
tion of stylish clothes for men and
women. Cutting-edge denim, hot
brands and well-designed pieces
make up the assortment of apparel
that students on campus can't get
enough of. This year, Bivouac tops
the list as best place for men's and
women's clothing.
Opening its doors in 1971, Biv-
ouac (literally, "a military encamp-
ment made with tents or improvised
shelters") originated as an army sur-
plus store on William Street, mov-
ing to its current location on State
Street in 1973. As the Vietnam War
ended, army surplus items became
less popular, so Bivouac started to
explore other retail areas, including
women's clothing. About five years
ago, the store ventured into trendier
men's apparel as well.
Today, staple items and top sell-
ers include denim and T-shirts for
women, as well as polo shirts for
men. A store signature for both
sexes, decidedly, is fleece (Can you
say The North Face?).
After Bivouac's opening 35 years
ago, other trendy retail outlets such
as Urban Outfitters and, most recent-
ly, American Apparel, followed. But
the competition has never worried
Ed Davidson, Bivouac's owner.
"All the stores have an identity.
We might overlap in certain arenas,

but we all have our own identity and
I think that's great because it brings
more people in the neighborhood to
shop," Davidson said.
Bivouac certainly does have its
own identity. Inside, the rustic,
lodge-like atmosphere is stocked
with a trail-mix variety of merchan-
dise. Enter from the leftmost door
and you'll see counters showcasing
Swiss army knives and sunglasses;
venture further and you'll discover
fishing gear, men's fleeces, wind-
breakers and other outdoor clothing.
In the next room are hiking boots,
backpacks and stylish designer
clothing for men, including polos
and sweaters from Ralph Lauren
and Lacoste, dress shirts and jeans
from Mavi, True Religion and AG,
to name a few.
The next room houses outdoor
clothing for women as well as yoga
apparel and accessories. Upstairs
are tents, sleeping bags, stoves and
cook kits, climbing equipment, snow
shoes and cross country skis. The
room closest to Nickels Arcade is
stocked with trendy clothing, shoes,
jewelry and accessories for women.
There are Herv6 Chapelier Paris tote
bags, Free People sweaters, basic
tees in pastel shades from James
Perse and Michael Stars, Puma
shoes and delicate shirts and dresses
from Velvet.
A loft-like upper level houses a
comprehensive denim lounge car-
rying all of the hottest brands on
the market including 575, Chip &
Pepper, James Jeans, Seven for All
Mankind, Rock and Republic, Citi-
zens of Humanity and Blue Cult,
in just about every shade, style and
color available.
The denim lounge, in fact, is what
draws sophomore Jenny Martin to
Bivouac.

Bivouac sells entire wardrobes for men and women.

"I like trying on jeans at Bivouac
with my best friend because there's
always such a great selection and
new merchandise that we just have
our own fashion show between the
two of us!" Martin said.
So what's new for spring? David-
son explains that for men, the fresh
look for jeans is an extremely worn
and torn style. Along those lines,
Ralph Lauren polos, also with a
slightly worn, vintage look, are hot
and in stock for the season.
For women, Weiss describes a
huge collection of "skinny" jeans
and H.U.E. leggings in a variety of
colors as the big sellers for spring.
Tees in longer lengths with a wide
belt can be layered over the peg-leg
silhouette. Baggy cargo shorts that
fall to the knee in neutral colors are
also in stock, as are chunky beaded
necklaces and slouchy, soft leather
bags.
"The one thing about this season
is it really runs the gamut. There's
something for everyone," Weiss
said.

Voted as "the Be
by the Michig-
m --,

6B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 13, 2006

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