Three businesses confirmed for ‘dot’ retail space

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 29, 2021

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FERNDALE — The dot is on the verge of filling its first floor retail space with at least four small businesses.

During its July 12 meeting, the City Council received a presentation from real estate firm Versa Wanda LLC that provided an update on street-level retail for The dot. The council and Versa Wanda signed an agreement two years ago for Versa Wanda to help bring in businesses to the mixed-use structure.

Greg Erne, a principal for Versa Wanda, said there is approximately 15,000 square feet of rentable space on the first floor of The dot, and they’re closing in on filling all of it.

“We have, to date, secured tenants for almost 80% of that, with active negotiations for the balance of it to be leased,” he said. “It will end up being four tenant spaces being filled.”

The first business Erne introduced was called My Salon Suite, a “salon/suite concept where they actually lease space to local tenants that do all aspects of the salon business, from hair to anything that they’re licensed for,” he said.

Co-owner Alpesh Trivedi said My Salon Suite is a small business incubator for beauty, health and wellness professionals. Each business would get 150 square feet, fully furnished, which he said would allow them to start their business without too much investment.

“It’s very easy for them to become a small business owner,” he said. “We picked this location because of its location, the vibes — I must say the vibes here are amazing. It’s very much welcoming. … I never thought I would put one in Ferndale.”

The next business introduced was A&Bé Bridal Shop, which has seven locations around the country from Portland, Oregon,  and Austin, Texas, to Denver, Colorado, and Sacramento, California.

Erne said the owner, Anna Walsh, tries to locate her businesses in “progressive” and “fashion forward” cities. He also commented that Versa Wanda liked how the business had a focus on the local community.

“She celebrates all gender identities, expressions, presentations, backgrounds and she really tries to create an environment where you can get an affordable wedding dress or wedding outfit with local stylists,” he said. “She’s really focused on value for the community, as well as a very customized experience.”

The third business, Quix Chocolate, is owned by a native of Belgium and current Grosse Pointe resident, David Ogloza. Erne called the business an exciting one and hopes it will pipe the smell of Belgian chocolate onto Troy Street.

“He’s bringing his country’s traditions to this store in Ferndale. (When) we talked about the concept, he seemed to really like the idea of being in Ferndale, but he liked even better the idea of being in this location, physically, because of the walkability and everything that’s going around,” he said. “It’s a new concept, it’s supporting a brand-new emerging business, we’re going over floor plans now, and it’s going to be a really neat place.”

A fourth business is in discussion for a spot on The dot’s street-level retail, but Erne said a deal has yet to be finalized.

The businesses were all said to get started at roughly the same time.

“I look forward to seeing all these businesses in this new development,” Mayor Melanie Piana said. “(We’re) very excited. We’ve been waiting for this moment to make these announcements, also delayed because of the pandemic.”