Ann Arbor is a city that is not change friendly. The folks love their landmarks here. Old smelly party stores in Birmingham are colorful landmarks in Ann Arbor. LOL
I managed to never buy anything at the Blue Front. Never set foot inside it! It was inconveniently located if you drove a car. It was good for students on foot though.. It's enite advertising campaign was the Maize colored awning with Cheap POP, Cheapest KEGS, Cheaper BEER....
I had a friend back in the late 70's who lived above the Campus Corner Drug Store that was kiddie corner from the Blue Front on the State St and Packard Crossing. He went every Sunday to the Blue Front for a Sunday New York Times. Other than that we never frequented that store. The downstairs drug store had a fabulous wine department and anything you could ever need. It stayed open late too. Now that place we should have installed a dumb waiter up to his apartment!
After reading the story just now on MLive... I read the comments and they are perfect Arbor! So I am going to share a few with those of you not familiar with the Ann Arbor state of mind......
57 Minutes Ago
They stopped selling dildos long a go, and business has never been the same since!
As a student in the 1980s, my greatest memory of BF is the huge selection of newspapers from around the country. Of course, they had one of the better beer selections in town and cheap kegs as well. The place was a bit grungy even back then but that was part of its charm. I will miss the place. Sadly, the space will probably end up being safe and corporate with another Starbucks or some other bland garbage.
Noooooooooooo! Please, please, please, somebody move in and keep it a wacky convenience place. I wouldn't be surprised to see someone buy up that entire corner and build an apt bldg on the lot. That seems to be what Ann Arbor does best right now.
For the longest time it was the the only place where "Naturist" and "art" photo magazines from the 50's and 60's were sold.
It's quite a story when Ray died and left the Blue Front to, iirc, Jane. She sold the collection of stuff that Ray hoarded in the basement. I still have a few small items.It's also reputed that in the 40's-50's friendly poker games were held in the basement with the local upper city bureaucrats of the time.
Now this is some sad news. When I was a kid back in the 50's we would park cars in my aunt's huge lot on Hill street for the football games. After the game started my dad would give my brother and I a dollar to got up and buy toys and comic books at the Bluefront. He always got balsa airplanes to fly at the field at Hill and Division. Later as a teenager we always went there and snickered at the men who sidled back in the back room to look at the girly magazines with guilty looks on their faces. My great uncle owned the store kitty corner from the Bluefront - Campus Corners. It was called Fischer and Finnel. It was a grocery store in the early part of last century. They lived in the house that is still there behind the store facades.
All things change. The Blue Front and the shops next to it including what for years was Ralph's Market were all owned by Ray Collins, the guy behind the counter at the Front. Ray lived further out Packard, as I recall, and was rumored to be a gifted musician in his youth. For several years, I lived in an apartment above Ralph's and hand-delivered the rent check to Ray at the Blue Front, once a month. In the late 1960s, the rent was $100 a month for a two bedroom flat and all the cockroaches you could possibly want. Every now and then, we'd fall behind in the rent but I'd continue to purchase The Village Voice and Oracle from Ray, who would eventually look up and mumble something about owing him rent, which we would then pay straight away. The Blue Front was periodically cited by the City as a fire hazard and Ray would do just enough cleaning up to avoid additional fines, at least for a while. I can still summon the smell of the place and the smell of Ray, on those occasions when he'd had a few too many behind the counter and was taking a Vets Cab home.
Yeah, he wasn't exactly a "people" person was he? But I prefer any place with an interesting character to all of the glass and metal high-rises they want to litter Ann Arbor with now.
Could it be that the guys that ran it (or at least ran the register) were rude!!! It was a nasty store that stunk!!! Should have been closed years ago!!!! Really, 2 apartments up stairs, who would want to live amongst the stench, rats and cockroaches!!! Glad it's gone!!!!
Whoa whoa whoa. As someone who lived above the former "SakeBombs" in 2006 I can say that those apartments were awesome. I can't speak explicitly to those above Blue Front, but the apartments right next door were quintessentially college. They were spacious and in the perfect location. They didn't stink, there were no rats or cockroaches either - maybe our heat went out a couple times over the winter, but the landlord always reacted quickly. It built character.
So what if people fought in the parking lot of Bell's Pizza after a night of partying? When the cops showed up, it just added to the soap opera that aired at 4am every Sunday. It was a magical apartment that when the weather was nice and the windows were open was perfumed by the wonderful aromas of Chinese food from Oriental Express. I will not sit idly by while you besmirch the memory of my beloved 711 Packard!