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Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Ypsilanti businesses encourage shoppers to buy local

A local patron browses gifts at The Rocket during last year's Starlight Spree. Photo by File Photo

A local patron browses gifts at The Rocket during last year's Starlight Spree.
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Starlight Spree, other events promote area commerce

By David Gomez
Nov. 30, 2009    ·    2:16 p.m.


The Downtown Association of Ypsilanti and several Ypsilanti businesses are getting together to offer late night shopping and holiday festivities to local shoppers this week.

The Ypsilanti Starlight Shopping Spree happens Friday and Saturday with holiday festivities going on during the shopping hours.

Patrons can listen to Christmas carolers while doing their holiday shopping from 6 - 9 p.m. Friday.

For the children there will be pictures with Santa at J. Neil’s Mongolian Grille from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday. Saturday will also feature a reindeer stable from 4 - 7 p.m. at Materials Unlimited.

Many retail business owners say they depend on the holidays to stay in business.

“Retail stores especially depend on the holidays to get them through the slow times," said Paul Balcom, co-owner of The Rocket in Downtown Ypsilanti.

Balcom said his candy and novelty store is already seeing a spike in sales as people come out of the woodwork to buy holiday related items such as replicas of the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story.”

Due to the tough economic times, this holiday season is more important than ever for small businesses. According to a 2008 study commissioned by Local First, a coalition of 425 independent businesses in the Grand Rapids region, more money stays in the local economy when shoppers make an effort to buy local.

The study found a 10 percent shift in market share from national chains to local businesses would generate an additional 1,600 jobs in Kent County with wages of $53 million being added to local payrolls if such a change in purchasing behavior could be realized.

"The 1,600 additional jobs created would have been enough to increase employment by one-half of one percent in 2007," the 24 page report states. "Output for the county could be increased by $137 million as well and this benefit would be spread among many industries, not only the retail sector."

Balcom said the goal of the Starlight Spree is to create a fun atmosphere with festivities that will inspire shoppers to support local businesses during the holiday season. A coupon book with additional savings from participating businesses was also created this year to encourage shoppers to spend their hard-earned dollars in Ypsilanti. The books can be picked up at several downtown businesses while supplies last.

Finally, while you're out shopping local, give local as well.

SOS Community Services, a non-profit that provides housing crisis services, homeless family services and homeless children's services for families in Washtenaw County, will be taking donations for its food and can drive during the shopping hours. You can drop off donations at J. Neil’s Mongolian Grille and Materials Unlimited. Donations can also be dropped off at any business listed in the coupon book if you are not able to make it to J. Neil’s or Materials Unlimited.

In addition to the Starlight Spree, Ypsilanti is brimming with other opportunities to buy local. Saturday's Shadow Art Fair at the Corner Brewery will feature 40 local artists from noon until midnight. A "Shadow Shuttle" from the Dreamland Theater in Downtown Ypsilanti to the Corner Brewery will be available for those who want to park downtown.

Visit our Community Calendar to check out all the local holiday events. Also, email us at editor@ypsiciti.com and let us know if we’re missing something.



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