A mix of new, expanded and renovated businesses are ready to welcome the spring shoppers, sidewalk strollers and nightlifers to downtown Ferndale, and with an under five-percent vacancy rate, the city is bucking the national trend that has "For sale" and "For lease" signs hanging in so many downtown business windows.
Some 15 businesses have recently opened or will open in coming weeks, changing the scene in the heart of downtown along Woodward Avenue and 9 Mile Road.
There's the massive Rust Belt Artists Market inside the closed Gap store at Woodward and 9 Mile, a luxe bar called The Oakland, the Orchid nightclub, the Cupcake Station, Nyla Motley designer women's clothing, Cacao Tree Cafe, and more.
West Woodward Animal Clinic will open as planned and No Pins Required will move this spring and become Modern Natural Baby at a larger location at 224 W. Nine Mile. Mother Fletchers will move into a new but smaller, more upscale funk-focused space at 210 W. 9 Mile Road in May.
Add to the mix Sugar Dessert Lounge, Street Legal Customs' larger digs, Grasshopper Underground, which has renovated and added outdoor dining, a vintage clothing store called Sweet Repeat, Essential Massage, and Rainy Day Hobbies, and Ferndale trucks on with its trend of offering the eclectic.
While the weak economy has hit Ferndale, forcing even some favorites to close, it is one city that has seen a growth in business.
"This is a really great thing to see," says Cristina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority
. "We're continuing to chip away at our vacancy rate, which is awesome, and
really with some of the changes occurring, such as the Rust Belt Market
in a building that that's been vacant a long time, we're bringing more
life and vitality to Ferndale."
Spring and fall often are big times for businesses to make moves, she says.
"There's always waves of businesses coming in. A lot of times it's tied to leases coming available, as well as a rebirth at the beginning of the calendar year and then springtime when businesses tend to want to open and be ready for the summer crowds...Fall is also a big time for businesses that want to be ready for Christmas."
What's remarkable, Sheppard-Decius says, is the number of expansions.
"Some of the moves that have been occurring are businesses moving into larger spaces," she says. "This is exciting to see businesses are reinvesting and expanding. It's really a good sign of the economy bouncing back."Source: Cristina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine