Sunday, October 30, 2011

Flint Postcards: River View and Railroad Yards

Can someone out there help me figure out this postcard? Is that Carriage Town on the right and downtown on the left? Or is this the Saginaw Street bridge over the river?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Witherbee's Market Grand Opening...And Possible Closing

UPDATE: Witherbee's Market and Deli announced on their Facebook page today that they'll be closing soon. Here's the announcement:
It is with deep regret and tears in our eyes that we announce the closing of Witherbee's Market and Deli on November 5, 2011. Our sincere thanks to everyone who supported our efforts to bring fresh food to Flint's inner city. We have made lots of friends over the last year that we will dearly miss. Stop by during the next week as we put many things on sale to clear the store.
So it appears that Flint's experiment with a downtown grocery store is over. I know there was a very complicated financing package in place to get Witherbee's up and running, but it's hard for me to understand why it's preferable for the creditors to close the store down instead of simply lowering the rent. Isn't some rent better than no rent?

Here's the post that ran August 8, 2011:

UPDATE: This post originally ran on June 14, 2010. Now, a little over a year later, Witherbee's Market appears to be on its last legs. Kris Turner of The Flint Journal reports:

The downtown grocery store, which opened in June 2010, isn’t making enough money to cover its bills, said David White, one of the market’s co-owners. It's located at 601 Martin Luther King Ave.

“We probably should have closed two months ago, but we’ve been hanging on hoping something will change,” he said.

The 10,000 square-foot store needs to generate more than $1 million in sales a year to meet its needs, White said. It has done about half that and is struggling to get by, he added.

The store had 15 employees when it opened and is now down to seven. Its utility bills are $8,000 a month in the winter — an astronomical cost that’s almost impossible to keep up with, White said.

And then there’s the rent. At $10,000 a month, Witherbee’s can’t afford to stay in its space. The store got a $4,000 reprieve on its rent from February to September but it hasn’t been enough.

Here's the original post from June 14, 2010:

I took a break from transcribing interviews to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Witherbee's Market & Deli at 601 Martin Luther King Avenue this morning. In addition to a big crowd of locals, including Mayor Dayne Walling, a Japanese film crew was on hand to document the event, confirming that you never know what to expect in Flint.

Slim Chiply Lives!

Who wants to help the economy by blowing some disposable income on a vintage Paramount Potato Chips tin? I ran across this on eBay and thought I should pass it along. (Joel Rash has a similar tin in his downtown office in Flint, I believe.)
It ain't cheap. The bidding starts at $29.99 but who can put a price on nostalgia? Go here to check it out.

Flint Postcards: "Be It Ever So Humble There's No Place Like Home" in Flint, Mich.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flint Photos: Ben Hamper and Johnny Thunders

Ben Hamper, author of Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line, remembers when The New York Dolls played the I.M.A. and Johnny Thunders roamed Eastland Mall:
Yep, it was 1974. I was at the show. We went to see the Dolls but Kiss — who no one had ever heard of at the time — blew 'em off the stage. The Dolls did an in-store appearance at Recordland in the Eastland Mall the day before. Got to meet Johnny Thunders — very nice guy. Johansen & Arthur Cane were chugging vodka straight from the bottle. Ah, the good ol' days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Era of Managed Decline

Noreen Malone has a cover story in a recent edition of New York magazine about coming of age in post-hope America. It's an interesting look at what it's like to be young in today's economy, but I couldn't help thinking a lot of the concepts also applied to Flint in an era of shrinking cities. Malone writes:
Another phrase I now can’t get out of my head is “managed decline.” It’s been batted around in the context of Europe; George Soros splashily said it about the U.S. dollar a few years ago; and Ken Layne, the Wonkette Cassandra, used it when we spoke. It also strikes me as a fairly good way of describing the process of getting older. That’s what we’re doing when we decide that we can be okay with having more unpredictable careers and more modest lifestyles, if that’s what’s in store: Even as we hold out hope that something will reverse the trajectory, we are managing our decline, we are making do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flint Artifacts: The New York Dolls and Kiss at the IMA

The New York Dolls and and their pale but more marketable imitators, Kiss, at the IMA...for $6. Not sure what year this show took place. Any Flintoids out there in attendance?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Flint Postcards: Thread Creek

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flint Postcards: Dunbars Municipal Band

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Flint Artifacts: Jimmie Goodwin's Tire Mart Ashtray

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flint Photos: Pat Nixon, Richard Nixon and Mrs. Summerfield in 1952

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Patti Smith Comes to Flint

Beata Mostafavi of The Flint Journal reports:

“Godmother of Punk” Patti Smith hasn’t said which social or political issues she may address on Thursday at Mott Community College’s Ballenger Eminent Persons Lecture Series.

But attendees can count on one thing: Hearing “Because the Night,” the 1978 hit Smith co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen.

Four MCC students will help Smith perform the song and her daughter Jesse will accompany them during the free 7 p.m. presentation in the Ballenger Field House on MCC’s main campus.

Flint Artifacts: Buick Anti-Freeze

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flint Photos: Stereoview of 113 W. Rankin Street by E.K. Emslie

Not Man Enough

I'm officially not watching any more Tigers games. It's too painful. I can't take it.

Eran Tryon, R.I.P.

Violence on the East Side claims another life, this time just around the corner from Angelo's Coney Island.

Khalil AlHajal of The Flint Journal reports:
Friends and family of Eran Tryon gathered for a vigil Monday at Arlington Avenue and Broadway Boulevard, where the 32-year-old was killed in a triple shooting Sunday night.

The tall, outgoing father of three was known as a skilled paint technician who worked at Lowe's in Burton.

"He was a top-notch guy," said Tryon's brother Eric Ashby. "He'll definitely be missed."

Tryon was killed in a drive-by shooting Sunday that also injured an 18-year-old woman and left an 8-year-old boy in critical condition.

Ashby said his little brother was supposed to be the best man in his wedding next week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

So long, Yankees!

The Official Flint Expatriates Playoff Shrine is in place.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flint Artifact: 1961 Buick Hat

'61 Is Buick's Year

Flint Artifacts: G.F.H.A. Jacket

Flint Artifacts: 1940 Dow Insurance Agency Calendar