Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Entrepreneurial Spirit Blooms in Birmingham

Article by: John Heiney, executive ddirector of the Birmingham Principal Shopping District

This time of year we are all waiting for the weather to finally break, bringing us that first warm day when we can all rediscover outdoors. The thought of spring is something we look forward to with much anticipation. In Birmingham's shopping district, every new business announcement is a similar, much anticipated event.

This spring, along with the warmer days, we will welcome a variety of new businesses to the shopping district that will add to Birmingham's variety and vibrancy.

I am pleased to be the first to formally announce the planned opening of Backcountry North at 284 W. Maple (in the former Smith and Hawken space). Backcountry North will be a specialty sporting goods retailer for hiking, camping and kayaking enthusiasts. They will carry major name brands including The North Face, Patagonia, Nau, Prana and Smartwool to name a few.

This will be the third location for owner Tracy Mayer who resides in Ann Arbor. She owns two successful Backcountry locations in the Traverse City area, which she purchased over eight years ago. “We felt that the time was right to open a third store, and Birmingham seemed like the right place to do it,” she said. “Southeast Michigan is under-retailed in specialty sporting goods, so we believe the demand will be strong.” Mayer was educated as an attorney at Wayne State, but has retail in her blood. “My father managed the Sportsman here in Birmingham for several years,” she said. He left the Sportsman in the late ‘70s to enter the wholesale specialty sports business.

Backcountry North is expected to open in the spring, and will no doubt bring a breath of fresh outdoor air to West Maple. We are also pleased to report that Tallulah Wine Bar and Bistro opened up this past week as well at 155 Bates St., featuring wine by the glass and bottle, farm to table cuisine, weekend breakfast, Sunday suppers, wine tasting events, retail wines, liquors and more. For more information or reservations call (248) 731-7066 or go to

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