Ann Arbor’s historic Blue Front to reopen mid-August

ANN ARBOR – Having shut its doors in June due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic Blue Front in downtown Ann Arbor will reopen in mid-August with new owners.

Sitting on the intersection of Packard Street and South State Street, Blue Front first opened in 1922 and has been a convenience store, a magazine shop and a craft beer and wine shop during its long lifetime.

The store’s new owner, Robert Vogt IV, who runs Saline-based automotive engineering company IOSiX, plans to expand the range of items in the store.

“I think the existing store was really focused on very, very high-end beer and wine and we certainly want to keep that,” said Vogt. “But we also want to add some low-to-mid range offering as well as some grab-and-go food type items, coffee, etc.”

He wants to turn the Blue Front into more of a community resource and plans to add some basic convenience items as well as prepackaged breakfast and lunch offerings from local food producers.

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As for what drew Vogt to Blue Front, he said that he saw lots of businesses closing in the area and inquired about the store.

“The risk factor right now is off the charts,” Vogt said, but he does expect business to return to the historic store.

He said buying the Blue Front seemed like a good way to diversify while also preserving an Ann Arbor landmark.

Reopening under new management in mid August! Looking forward to meeting everyone and continuing to provide you with the best products. Any suggestions or feedback are welcomed!

Posted by Blue Front Ann Arbor on Friday, June 26, 2020

Retail is a new venture for Vogt but his local business partner, Erik Kissel, has 15 years of experience in the beer and wine industries of Michigan and California.

When able to, Vogt said that Blue Front will return to offering tasting events as well as monthly beer and wine clubs.

He plans to continue offering carry-out orders and allow in-store shopping with precautions. He would also like to see the store offer delivery, if possible.

Currently, the store is restocking its shelves and waiting for licenses to transfer before it can reopen.

Blue Front Ann Arbor is at 701 Packard St.


About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.