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Open or Closed? Ferndale Businesses Share Dream Cruise Strategies

Find out which businesses along Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue are embracing the cruise and which are closing down shop until it's over - and why.

Should I stay or should I go?

It's the question many Ferndale business owners face every year around Dream Cruise time.

For some, the influx of an anticipated 1.5 million people to the historic avenue for means a chance to have a busy, profitable weekend. Other business owners close down due to concerns over traffic, lack of parking or customers only coming in to use the restroom.

At , a makeup and nail studio on Woodward in Ferndale, owner Cheryl Salinas-Tucker says her customers who called about appointments for this Saturday changed their minds once they realized it was Dream Cruise weekend - which reinforced her decision to close that day.

"Really it's because no one can get to my business," she said, pointing out that her parking lot is also rented out for one of the Dream Cruise events. "We don't want to be a bathroom, either."

But it doesn't phase Salinas-Tucker much - "It's just one day," she said. "To us it's not a big deal. I know a lot of people do take quite a hit but we just see it as a Saturday off, which we rarely get."

, one of Ferndale's newest establishments, will get its first taste of the Dream Cruise this year. They'll be open regular hours (11 a.m. to 2 a.m.) each day of .

"We're still really new so we need to have that impression with the community. Whether it's a busy weekend for the community or not, we're here," said manager Sagen Isham. "We see no point to really close just yet."

But Imperial will take a proactive approach to avoiding the bathroom traffic: Everyone who walks in will pay for a $5 coupon, which will be applied to their bill.

The taco bar will also appeal to cruise viewers by selling cold beverages like Mexican Coke and other non-alcoholic drinks in the front patio area.

Nicole Cass, general manager at , said the restaurant will be closed on Saturday.

"Historically our owners have closed for the Dream Cruise," Cass said. "I think that the tourists don't come in and that the regulars can't get here."

But Cass is quick to point out that the business has nothing against the annual event. "We're not anti-Dream Cruise. But it is only for some people. We'll open back up on Sunday at 8 a.m."

For owner Ann St. Peter at , the decision to close down starting Friday afternoon is easy: "I don't like having people use my bathroom all day for free," she said.

"Our bathroom is for customers only ... we get people trying to figure out what the cheapest thing is to buy," she said. "It's the same with Pride Fest - we don't open for that anymore."

Pinwheel is located on Nine Mile Road, which will be closed off during the cruise this year.

"The city puts the food vendors right smack dab in front of our stores. You've got every food vendor on the street right in front of us. Really the only thing people want is our bathroom," she said.

St. Peter said her business and places nearby, like (which will also be closed), have seen decreased business all week.

"They've tried to rent it out before to no avail. All of us have tried everything, it's not worth it," she said. "Our opinion is just Saturday is fine, but because it goes on for so long ... I'm losing two-and-a-half days worth of business basically."

Janine Souther, manager at the , said they'll be open for business and will be prepared with extra cupcakes.

"We're looking forward to it," she said. "We're embracing it."

on Nine Mile will also be open during the cruise and will offer special deals, along with a '50s style party and trunk show, to appeal to new visitors to the area.

"Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow," said owner Amy Keely.

Other businesses that will stay open Saturday include , , , the , and .

Other businesses that will close include , Mae's, Claddagh Chiropractic, The Magic Bag, Pak-Mail, Assagi, and . The and will also be closed.

Salinas-Tucker, at Rouge, said she feels for the businesses that are more affected by the need to close down - and for the .

"I think the deal is really that people from Ferndale just plainly can't get around their own city and they take it personally," she said.

Be sure to call your favorite Ferndale businesses to confirm specific hours of operation.

Ann St.Peter August 16, 2012 at 11:23 AM
I have to say that I am really upset by the super negative tone attributed to me in this article. Yes, we will close early on Friday and will be closed on Saturday, that decision came from looking at the records of the first four years and seeing the pattern of more foot traffic (people walking thru, using the restroom, etc.) while having fewer sales. The food options people at an outdoor event like this want are right outside our door, making us a shortcut to the parking lot or a nicer bahroom option. We don't sell cans of pop or bottles of water. Those are available in lots of other venues. When Pridefest was on Nine Mile, it was the same. We became a cut through to the festival to avoid the admission fee. I look forward to having the day off, but my employees are loosing 1-2 days of work, that I can't make up to them without being able to make up the lost sales. My attitude to the event is not as flippant as this article would suggest. I do wish it was a one day event only, I do wish it was good for everyone's business, but it's not. The difference between The Dreamcruise and something like the art fair and The Pig and Whiskey, is that attendants to those events come here expecting to spend money. Art fair weekend and Ice Fest are two of our strongest weekends. Even GreenCruise this year was great for us. Dreamcruise is different. I'm glad it works for some, but let each business make their own decision and leave it at that.
Frank Castronova August 16, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I fully support the business that decided to close on Saturday. Our independent business owners work too hard to deal with people who use their businesses for nothing more than a toilet. They all deserve a day off for their hard work throughout the year making this community what it is, but I'm sure if things were different, they'd be happy to serve the community as they do day-in and day-out.
Jacki Smith August 16, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Candle Wick Shop will be open during the Cream Cruise, as will Boston Tea Room. Although our business is 1/2 or less of what a normal Saturday brings it is still pays the light bills and more people get to see our store. We have spent a lot of time and money in the past to generate business from the thousands of people who come to Ferndale. From participating in the Beehive contest, to handing out coupons for a free candle to vending on the street ourselves. The Dream Cruise exists no matter what. Michael Lary who is the event coordinator has worked with the Downtown and tried many different configurations for the cruise and it is just a carnival atmosphere where people look at cars and want elephant ears. I wish for Ferndale to be seen in a positive light and hopefully the looky-loos come back and shop another day.
Jacki Smith August 16, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Ann - I have watched you try everything to be a part of Dream Cruise and I know you are making a balanced decision. Thanks for being a part of Ferndale.
Jessica Schrader August 16, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Hi Ann, thanks for your comment and for clarifying your position.
Angela Emmerling August 16, 2012 at 04:57 PM
What are the financial advantages to Ferndale and its citizens for participating in the Dream Cruise? I've heard about businesses in other communities, where Woodward doesn't cut right through their downtown, having increased business but it seems that most of the independent businesses in Ferndale (and we pride ourselves on having so many wonderful independent businesses) lose money or barely break even because of the Dream Cruise. Many residents flee the area to avoid the disruption, so it doesn't seem to be beneficial to local businesses OR residents. Who does it benefit? We pay to have the mess cleaned up during and after, to police the event, etc. Are we losing money? I would love to see an article explaining all of this, presenting some black and white numbers. If this annual event, which keeps lasting longer and longer each year, is benefiting us than I would like to understand how and to what extent.
Kristal Mott August 16, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I too am very interested in what Angela Mentioned. I am new to the area and am not familiar with the cruise and what it is like for my community. I was interested in checking it out this year for the first time, but decided against it when I found out that so many of my favorite places are going to be closed, and for that those that are open I might have difficulty getting to them. This seems to be a big issue in our community and if Ferndale would benefit from NOT participating, it seems like it would be an easy exit as it I understand it is right on the end of the strip.
scott christopher dellas August 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Ann, you said you were upset by the negative tone of the article and then listed everything negative about the Dream Cruise. Re-read your comment. It fits right into the story. The Dream Cruise started to celebrate Detroit cars. It is not a drag race now. It is just a drag.
Patrick Kepler August 16, 2012 at 08:30 PM
What's up with the fire and police junker parade at 5 pm on Friday ? The day before the event on the busiest road at peak rush hour . Who's idiotic idea was that ? Let people get home . P.s. I love pin wheel bakery and toast !
Mark Houston August 16, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Patrick...they have been doing that parade for years, always on Friday at 5:00PM.
Sandy Levine August 16, 2012 at 09:01 PM
The Oakland will be open all weekend at 5pm. We closed a couple weeks ago, so we decided not to this weekend. Having said that, I know of about 5 businesses that profit from the cruise and every retail, service, food, and beverage establishment owner and employee I know aside from those 5 agrees that it significantly decreases sales. As Ann said, I think we would be a little more positive about it if it were one day, but losing a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to a business whose profit margin may be razor-thin can be a very tough blow. Perhaps if 9 mile were open, or at least only closed for one day instead of three we wouldn't be as negatively affected. Hopefully next year will be different.
Greg Pawlica August 17, 2012 at 05:13 AM
I really try to stay on the fence about the Dream Cruise, but it is difficult. Living on E. Saratoga, we get way too much vehicle traffic starting days before the weekend; people avoid E.Troy because of the police station, so we get the speeders and engine revers. The event brings a lot of money into the city. It is unfortunate that all the businesses cannot benefit. We should respect those businesses that choose to close for whatever reason they deem necessary. I do have a suggestion for those businesses on 9 Mile. Perhaps locking the back door with a sign stating that only the front door was open would eliminate the walk-through traffic those stores experience. I also liked the idea of the Imperial; charging $5 to enter which is taken off their bill...obviously not every business can do that. It would be nice, though, if the DDA and the city could work with some of those businesses that (traditionally) close. Perhaps they could allow those businesses to have a street tent with a reduced rate...they could close their brick and mortar store and sell some of their products from the booth. I just wish there was some way that every business could benefit from the event. Incidently, Dream Cruise isn't the only event that causes havoc on E. Saratoga...DIY, Pig and Whiskey, and any other event that impacts E. 9 Mile forces traffic to divert down our street.
Shannon August 17, 2012 at 09:51 AM
Wow! I believe Dream Cruise is amazing! What other event have you known in the U.S. that has drawn such communities together for pure enjoyment of life :) I and my generations of family were raised in the Detroit, Ferndale, Oak park area. It is wonderful to see this corridor still thriving and being family and people friendly! These are moments in time we can share with each other and enjoy " Being". It's a moment in time to just "BE" and enjoy NOW! When was the last time you dropped everything, looked around and lived in the moment. We all go thru hard times but we make it. Who'dve thunk a whole nation takes these moments in time to share the beauty and appreciation of the "automobile". And it's here in FERNDALE!!!!
Frank Castronova August 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I sympathize with you, Greg, about events other than the Dream Cruise causing havoc. We get it on West Troy for Pride and the Ice Sculpture Festival. However, unlike the Dream Cruise, these events take place during their advertised times and the people come and go around the start and end times and generally do not loiter. The Dream Cruise is so unpredictable because it's gotten way out of control. Every year it gets longer and longer.
Angela Emmerling August 17, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I disagree that celebrating the automobile (which is pretty obnoxious to many in Ferndale who prefer celebrating eco-friendlier modes of transport) is worth harming the businesses and citizens that call this place home. An earlier comment states that the cruise brings a lot of money into Ferndale. I would like to know how and where does it go?
Melinda Lee Hicks August 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I love the Dream Cruise. I'm not without sympathy, though, for the local businesses. I discovered Pinwheel Bakery during an earlier Dream Cruise and have been back to visit many times since then! I appreciate the businesses like Rouge, Pinwheel and others that feel they are forced to close but yet still are civil about the Dream Cruise. I applaud the businesses like Candlewick and Boston Tea Room who are staying open even though they know they will not do as well as they normally would. It's a good way to attract customers. For businesses like The Magic Bag, they've lost the business of myself and my family forever. I try very hard to patronize local businesses that support the city and schools but I also try very hard to avoid those that do not. Magic Bag falls into the latter category. Despite people's feelings about the cruise, I hope they will maintain a pleasant, happy attitude for all of our visitors this week/weekend. Let's show them "our" Ferndale and what we're really about!
Angela Emmerling August 17, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Out of curiosity, how often did you patronize the Magic Bag before? I seriously doubt that their target market is offended by their tongue-in-cheek jab at this controversial event.
tim costello August 17, 2012 at 08:01 PM
8 degrees Plato Beer Company has no idea what may or may not happen but have chosen to stay open for Dream Cruise - regular business hours.
Elizabeth Anne Fritz-Cottle August 17, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I just want to know how Ferndale can approve Mustang Alley's complete takeover of our city for three days. Ugh. It doesn't jive with Ferndale's culture and it ruins my chance to drink local coffee.
Angela Emmerling August 17, 2012 at 08:55 PM
That's one of my issues with the Cruise, and why I think Ferndale government needs to come forward with justification for the harm this event causes residents and Ferndale businesses. Show us the costs and show us the revenue for the city. The #1 gripe most Ferndalians have is that the cruise stretches far beyond one day, and Ferndale government ADDS to that problem by approving multi-day events on side streets (and even on 9 Mile -- which blows my mind that both a major highway like M-1 and a major mile road would be impeded at the same time, ESPECIALLY when the intersection of thise two roads is our downtown) that compound the Woodward trouble.
Melinda Lee Hicks August 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Actually, Angela, I did not patronize The Magic Bag very often but my children did which is why I said "family". I'm old. My children ARE their target demographic. I'm sure they appreciate your speaking on their behalf, though!
Angela Emmerling August 18, 2012 at 02:11 AM
If your adult children (The Magic Bag is not a kid venue) need mommy to tell them where they can and can't go and are so upright that they can't take a joke then I maintain my belief that they are NOT the target audience for the Magic Bag. I'm not affiliated with them other than as a patron, so I can't speak for them, but I have taken the time to review their rationale for the sign and related contest on their FB page (did you?) and I feel like I have informed myself enough to have a pretty good idea of who they are NOT trying to attract.

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