From Auto Parts to 80″ Screens
When John Wall’s lease was about to expire on a small, out-of-the-way South Industrial location, he decided The TV Warehouse was ready for bigger and more visible digs. He subleased the former Advance Auto Parts storeroom on Packard then set to work on renovations. A new ceiling, linoleum floor, and partitions were finished and walls were still wet with paint on August 15, three days before the store’s official opening. As employees hurried to build and arrange shelves, a former customer walked through the open door and walked out with a television set. “We’re taking that as a good sign,” says store manager Adam Muszkiewicz, grinning.
Visitors in wheelchairs can finally stay there, but they still face many barriers.
As always, graduation weekend in Ann Arbor meant hotels, shops, and restaurants were packed to the proverbial gills. But this year, downtown Ann Arbor became far more hospitable to guests with vision, hearing, and mobility issues.
The Graduate Ann Arbor on E. Huron St., formerly the Dahlmann Campus Inn, opened just in time for the ceremonies with every room sold out, some of them recently upgraded rooms for guests with disabilities. The Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, which opened last October on W. Huron, was also fully occupied, including its ten rooms designed for guests with handicaps. At the train station, a new ramp allows easier access for travelers using wheelchairs and walkers, and several historic downtown buildings in recent months have added new Braille signage, elevators, wider doors, new restroom facilities, and grab bars.
“I still dream of Bill Knapp’s chocolate cake. It was the best,” a dessert enthusiast was overheard saying recently. Despite the restaurant chain’s bankruptcy in 2002, that dream is about to rematerialize on store shelves throughout the Midwest.
Dexter-based Bill Knapp’s, LLC, now owns the rights to Knapp’s namesake baked goods. In February, the phone there rang incessantly as the company prepared to launch its new “unified” version of the cake this month. Managing partner Marty Carrier fielded floods of order requests.