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September 07, 2011 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-07

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The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com Thursday, September 8, 2011
THE CHANGING FACE OF
ANN ARBOR

weekend
essentials
Sept. 8 to 11

CONCERT
The "nerdcore" hip-hop
artist-slash-comedian
mc chris will be bring-
ing his unique brand
of geek and gangster
to our very own Blind
Pig this Sunday. Tour-
ing behind his new
album, Race Wars,
which was released
earlier this week, mc
chris is also known for
his work on Adult Swim
shows like "Aqua Teen
Hunger Force." Doors
open at 8 p.m., and
tickets start at $15.

In a rough economy, independ
quirk still reigns supreme amo
Ann Arbor's recent ventures
Vby dTao,OD Edito

ng o matter where you were this
summer, it's been virtually
impossible to ignore the many
signs of a floundering econo-
my. There's political gridlock
in Washington and panic on
Wall Streeptconomists date the likelihood
of a double-dip recession while a pervasive
sense of malcontent permeates a Main Street
plagued by 9.1-percent unemployment. And as
students return for the upcoming school year,
they'll be returning to a city that's lost some of
its corporate symbols butgained new marks of
--- its independent spirit at the same time.
Over the summer, @burger, an experimen-
tal venture from Big Boy Restaurants, closed
its location in the McKinley Towne Center
building for the final time after just 11 months
in the area. But what more studentswill notice
are the signs advertising the sales at Borders.
Still, despite the tenuous economic environ-
ment, entrepreneurs continue to set up shop
in Ann Arbor, drawn by the city's smaller, col-
lege-town feel, sophisticated reputation and
their previous ties to the region.
Located just a few blocks from what was
formerly @burger is Avtomobile (pronounced
"automobile"), a new vintage clothing shop
that opened its doors in July. According to
owners Maris Turner and Sara Renner, who
met at Columbus College of Art and Design,
the shop was founded after a stint in New
York City that left them both disillusioned
and looking to move closer to home.
"We wanted to be away from the corporate
thing," said Renner, an Ohio native. "Coming
to Michigan was closer to my home and fam-
ilythan New York was."
Despite its location on Liberty St. - an
inconspicuous, blink-and-you-miss-it hole-
in-the-wall - the storeowners are highly
enthusiastic. Business has been good, and
with the return of the student body it's only
improving.
"We opened at (the Ann Arbor Art Fair)
which was just awesome for us. A lot of people
came in and found out what we are," Turner
said. "Last week, when the students were
coming in, there was alot of traffic and people

seemed really excited."
Thanks in large part to the city's compara-
tively lower costs, the duo hasn't really been
affected by the slumping economy and holds
a certain come-what-may attitude towards
potential recem~n.
"(An sn't New York, so the rent's'
definitely a big perk," Turner said. "It's a risky
time, but you might as well embrace it."
A few blocks from Avtomobile, another
new business has also sprung up. Italian
eatery Mani Osteria, the brainchild of Ann
Arbor-native Adam Baru, opened last May.
Baru, who moved back to Ann Arbor from
Philadelphia, returned to raise a family and
start his first restaurant project. He brings
with him years of experience operating res-
taurants for Iron Chefs, such as Masaharu
Morimoto and Jose Garces.
"I'm probably one of the few people who
have worked and survived two Iron Chefs,"
Baru joked.
Despite the number of existing Italian res-
taurants in Ann Arbor, Baru sees plenty of
room for his venture, which serves cuisine
using locally sourced ingredients made fresh
in-house. Though he recognizes the challeng-
es business owners face in a bad economy, he
remains optimistic about business and con-
tinues to emphasize quality.
"I think that we're offering really great
ingredients for a really quality product," he
said. "We're just trying to hopefully add to and
enhance what is already a great diningscene."
Existing businesses are also choosing to
expand, albeit in unique, cost-effective ways.
Mark's Carts, an outdoor collection of food
carts, opened its doors in May and has already
introduced two new carts to its courtyard
on West Washington. Owner Mark Hodesh
attributes their success to the recession-proof
nature of food carts and the fun culture that
surrounds them.
"Carts are sort of anti-business cycle,"
Hodesh said. "It's fun to eat and people have
a goodtime."
The newest cart in the courtyard is actually
a franchise of an existing business.
See NEW STORES, Page 3B

TELEVISION
Throughout the week-
end, various networks
and cable channels
will bempremiering
television specials
commemorating the
tenth anniversary of
9/11. These include a
two-hour program on
CBS, a special about
resilience on HBO,
reflective pieces on
ABC and USA and an
hour-long presentation
on the Oprah Winfrey
Network about twins
of the twin towers.

FILM
Are the "mean reds"
getting you down?
Spend an afternoon
with sexy and glamor-
ous Holly Golightly this
Sunday at 1:30 p.m.,
when the Michigan
Theater presents the
1961 movie "Breakfast
at Tiffany's." Clad in her
iconic little black dress,
pearl choker, Wayfarer
sunglasses and beehive
up-do, Audrey Hep-
burn plays the capri-
cious Manhattan call
girl. Tickets from $7.
AT THE MIC
Struggling through the
transition to campus?
So is Tariq, the star of
"Mooz-lum." Raised
by strict Muslim par-
ents, Tariq finds new
peers on campus but
is forced into a cross-
roads by the 9/11
attacks. Featuring a
post-screening dis-
cussion with director
Qasim Basir, the film
shows this Sunday at
the Michigan Theater
at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7.

It's a risky
time, but you
might as well
embrace it.

-Maris Turner,
Avtomobile owner

PHOTOS BY ERIN KIRKLAND AND ANNA SCHULTE
DESIGN BY KRISTI BEGONJA AND HELEN LIEBLICH

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