Ever since CVS's purchase of the Jacobson's property was announced, its mere mention around town almost universally elicits sighs, groans, diatribes and the question, "Don't they already have a store in the Village?"
We have spoken to no one who believes this development is likely to be positive for the character and quality of our community. Many folks seem worried the Pointes will be exposed to the kind of predatory "dumbing down" of the retail shopping experience on display in many other suburban communities.
By contrast, last Thursday's Detroit Free Press introduced readers to the successfully upscale Iowa-based retailer, Von Maur, which is taking over Jacobson's locations in Livonia and Ann Arbor. "Shoppers yearning for the attentive service that was a Jacobson's hallmark will find a similar attitude at Von Maur," wrote the Detroit Free Press.
"It has the quality of Nordstrom at a better price," said one impressed shopper.
"They have every line you can think of," said another.
"Our customers have high expectations," said a Von Maur store manager. "They tell us how refreshing it is to see old-fashioned values."
The more we read the article, the more depressed we became. How could Von Maur have passed up the opportunity to come to Grosse Pointe, which ought to be a slam-dunk market for them?
If CVS pursues its rumored plan to level the Jacobson's building and bring a CVS super store to the Village, shoppers will be exposed to a long and messy construction period followed by the kind of high-volume mass-market venue we do not need and few of us want.
We plead with local elected officials to do everything within their power to dissuade and/or frustrate this kind of development by CVS. Furthermore, we ask that members of the east side community resolve to boycott any CVS mega-store to hasten its demise. Maybe then we will be able to attract a quality retailer such as Von Maur, or perhaps a package of smaller stores that offer our young people some high-quality in-town entertainment options.