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Q: Opening a business (asian retail store) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Opening a business (asian retail store) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: exquisitekpl-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 09 Jun 2004 13:55 PDT
Expires: 09 Jul 2004 13:55 PDT
Question ID: 358780
Detailed steps to opening a retail store in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I
would like to open a Asian retail store (selling clothes, jewlery,
books, and dolls) on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. I
need the complete steps to opening a business. Including issues like
business liscences, state laws, taxing, and many things that I don't
know about with opening a business. Pretty much, I would like a
summarized version of a "How to open a retail store in Ann Arbor,
Michigan for Dummies". I don't need this in a great hurry, but I do
want all the details possible. Thanks a lot.

Request for Question Clarification by jbf777-ga on 14 Jun 2004 10:51 PDT
Hello -

Can you clarify what you mean by "retail store?"  Are you looking to
have a storefront in an existing shop center?



Request for Question Clarification by jbf777-ga on 14 Jun 2004 12:23 PDT
Hello again,

According to the University, you wouldn't be able to open up a retail
store on campus such as the one you're describing.  They have specific
spaces available in Union buildings, and the campus generally picks
from a variety of proposals that are more geared toward student
necessities or essentials.  Even if the store were of this type,
spaces are booked for literally years right now.

The second best bet would be to open up a store that's right outside
campus, and then advertise in the relevant university media to attract
students to your store.  Would you like me to investigate this for


Clarification of Question by exquisitekpl-ga on 14 Jun 2004 22:55 PDT
Sorry about that. I meant close to campus, not in Union or anything
like that. Something with a storefront, in a shopping center or a
retail space on the side of the street works. Please investigate that
for me as far as obtaining paper works and liscenses to open the
business, taxing issues, and other things that I don't know about. I
would like to open a store that sells Asian souvenirs, books, artsy
things, and crafts.
Subject: Re: Opening a business (asian retail store) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Answered By: jbf777-ga on 15 Jun 2004 08:54 PDT
Hello -

That's no problem!  Thank you for your question.

Please ask for any clarification you may require prior to rating this answer.  
Thank you.

If this is your first business, I would highly suggest doing some
business counseling with the Michigan Small Business Technology and
Development Center.
The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center has been
established to provide consulting, training, research and other
services to small businesses.  There is no charge for consulting
sessions; however, the following application must be completed and
provided to the MI-SBTDCSM prior to receiving services:

The office may be contacted at this number: 734-547-9170.

The Michigan Treasury department and Small Business Technology Center
has written the very type of guide you're looking for:

The links along the left side are the table of contents to each section.

You can also access it in PDF format here:

"Information included in this guide is both general and
Michigan-specific; from outlining the different forms of business
organization and establishment of a basic business plan to complying
with federal, state and local tax obligations and obtaining necessary
licenses and permits.  Though this guide is not a substitute for legal
counsel, it is an information source and quick reference designed to
facilitate and expedite the process of starting a business in

On a high level, when opening this business, the main points you need
to consider are:

I spoke with Bill Milliken, who is someone I recommend talking to --
he's a realtor in the area who does retail placements on the
University's surrounding streets.  Bill will be able to tell you the
space that's available and help you secure a property:

Bill Milliken, CCIM
Milliken Realty Company
100 Huron View Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Tel: 734-821-4321
Fax: 734-821-4322

He says there is space available on State St. (which is on the west
side of the University), which is a retail-oriented street.  He said
Main St. and Liberty St. (Borders is on this street) would also be a

Financing, suppliers, operations
Are you going to fund this business?  Are you going to obtain loans?
It's about $30-$35/square ft. for State St., and $20-$25/sq. ft. for
Main st.  Are you prepared to order in bulk from suppliers?  Have you
budgeted for managers and store clerks?

Develop a business plan 
This will be the underlying framework your business will work from. 
It's a plan of attack -- a strategy that you will use when initially
developing your business and refer back to later on.  Here is a
template from Howard University:

Name your business 
Something catchy, memorable, and succinct.  A logo and/or slogan might
help.  You can use Google Answers a potential resource for starting
ideas on a name or slogan.

Register your business
The Michigan Treasury Department has a helpful "online business
startup" wizard, available at this link:,1607,7-121-2143_2153-6599--,00.html

"This interactive tool allows new business ventures to file their
business entity and register for applicable state taxes on-line. 
Instead of contacting three different agencies to obtain the proper
forms, this site allows you to enter all of the necessary information
? one time ? to generate the initial state government forms you will
need.  At the end of the process, you will have completed forms ready
to mail to the correct agencies."

Select search strategy used:
  michigan retail
  contacted organizations

Request for Answer Clarification by exquisitekpl-ga on 16 Jun 2004 16:17 PDT
Thanks so much. The information you provided is very helpful. For the
finance part, I am more interested in leasing and not buying. Can you
give me the approximate cost for leasing per square foot? All the
locations you said are fine. They are all very close to the students.
Or, is it better to buy then lease? Though I didn't plan on it, if
buying is better, I don't mind taking out a loan to purchase the
property. And if I were to obtain loans either for buying the property
or operating the business, what information do I need? Thanks, you're
so helpful.

Clarification of Answer by jbf777-ga on 16 Jun 2004 17:48 PDT
Glad to be of help.  

With regards to leasing vs. buying, there are a few variables to
consider.  If you have the cash, and the property is a very good
location and attractive, then buying outright would give you the
opportunity to lease/rent it out if the business weren't to go as
planned; plus, you'd have equity in a property.  However, owning the
building means additional up-keep cost that you wouldn't have to deal
with if you lease it, since the landlord would typically take care of
that.  It would depend a lot on the property, the deal, and the

For more information on this, I highly recommend talking to Bill
Milliken, as he would be able to freely advise you from an inside

If you need any additional clarification, feel free to ask.



Clarification of Answer by jbf777-ga on 16 Jun 2004 17:51 PDT
I believe the cost per sq. foot that I supplied above is a lease
price, but I will confirm that.

Clarification of Answer by jbf777-ga on 16 Jun 2004 17:56 PDT
Some additional information on leasing vs. buying:

Clarification of Answer by jbf777-ga on 16 Jun 2004 18:02 PDT
Also, with regard to financing: 

"There are two types of financing: equity and debt financing. When
looking for money, you must consider your company's debt-to-equity
ratio - the relation between dollars you've borrowed and dollars
you've invested in your business. The more money owners have invested
in their business, the easier it is to attract financing."

This is from the Small Business Administration, who provides loans:

Also, for your specific situation, leasing is probably something you
should do in this case, since you don't have the cash outright to
purchase the property.
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