Downtown Ypsilanti’s new business, B-24’s proves to be sustainable

Just after two-months of operation, B-24’s in downtown Ypsilanti is proving to be viable.

Paying tribute to Ypsilanti heritage, B-24’s name originates from World War II when 8,700 “Liberator’s” bombers were flown out of Willow Run Airport.  During peak volumes, Willow Run employed nearly 42,000 people including “Rosie the Riveter.”

Famous B-24 logo outside of the shop in downtown Ypsilanti

Martha and Tom Rumford, Ann Arbor, who own the building where B-24’s is located, has always seen this space as a coffee shop.

“This is the industrial path of the area.  So in this way, we connect our generations,” Martha Rumford says.  “Some people don’t know what a B-24 is and when 8,700 airplanes were flown out of here, that’s quite an impact on the world.”

Walking in, the clean, sharp ambiance fits with the industrial-life, World War II theme.  Lining the back walls, black and white pictures from the Ypsilanti Historical Society of the bombers depict life back then.  At the front of the store, signs calling all local artists for open-mic night.

Rebecca Manney, Ypsilanti, along with Martha and Tom Rumford tasted coffee from several different local roasters and finally settled on Roos Roast and Mighty Good coffee both from Ann Arbor and also Chazzano’s coffee from Ferndale.

Operations Manager, Rebecca Manney poses in front of the traditional espresso machine used at B-24's

 

 

“The freshness and the quality and the fact that it’s local are really the main reasons that went into our coffee selection,” Manney said.

 

 

 

 

View of the famous pour-coffee coffee that B-24 brews.

 

 

 

“We feature pour-over coffee so you can pick up every hint and nuance of each coffee,” Manney said. All bakery and bagel items are freshly baked every morning at B-24’s by Lesley Austin who owns a dress shop down the street from B-24’s.

 

Barry Dauphin, Ypsilanti, was excited to see a coffee shop re-open in this space after the disappointed closing of the former Bombadill’s.

“I like the décor,” Dauphin said. “I think the new theme is local and very connected to the area.”

And Dauphin is very happy to see life springing back into Ypsilanti.

“Every time one thing opens, something else closes. It’s almost like karma,” Dauphin said.  “And so I’m hoping with this place opening, others will move into a direction of more vitality in downtown.  There wouldn’t be a downtown without folks like this.”

 

Art gallery posted in the dining room at B-24. Artist: Fritz Ho

 

 

Every month, B-24’s features a local artist.  This month, Fritz Ho, a barista who works at B-24’s is featuring six pieces for sale.

 

 

 

 

In an effort to increase traffic, B-24’s is advertising for local artists to play in their space.

“We want to be a meeting place for groups and for live music,” Manney said.

And that’s what is happening in this space.

Open mic nights are being offered every Friday from 7:30-10 p.m. and sign-up’s can happen either their Facebook page or in store.  Also, calling local bands and artists to play sets other nights of the week.

“It’s interesting tying coffee and airplanes together but it awesome showing Ypsilanti heritage,” Manney said. “And the locals appreciate the name.”

As regulars become familiar with B-24’s, Manney discovers that a lot of people don’t know what the B-24 bomber is.

“It’s interesting to hear the reactions from the customers when they ask questions about the heritage,” Manney said.

With acknowledgement from the local neighborhood, B-24’s is looking to promote their sweet treats and their local music events also serving up ice cream for summer time around the corner.

“We are looking to hit the local business school for next year and canvas the neighborhood,” Martha Rumford says. “For now, were into summer and looking forward to the local festivals and the music it will bring to our part of town.

For more information, visit b-24’s.com or their Facebook page.

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