While walking down State Street, amidst the plethora of cafés and restaurants, it is impossible not to notice the growing number of empty buildings and “For Lease” signs.

Shaman Drum Bookshop, a campus fixture, was one of the first to shut down. But most recently, Swirlberry Frozen Yogurt — a popular frozen yogurt chain — closed the doors of its eatery near campus.

Nico Leo, co-owner of the Swirlberry location, said the Swirlberry branch located at 209 State St. closed to make way for CVS pharmacy, which will occupy both the building that Swirlberry was in as well as the neighboring building previously occupied by Sava’s State Street Café.

“CVS is coming in and they are tearing the building down next week,” Leo said in an interview last week.

Swirlberry moved to State Street, across from Starbucks and the current location of Sava’s, last May, shortly before Yogo Bliss announced its opening on South University Avenue.

And while the closing may have come as a surprise to some students on campus, Leo said he was aware of CVS’s planned move to State Street before he moved to the location.

“We knew about the CVS coming up, so we signed a one-year lease,” Leo said. “We were using it to test the waters and get a sense of what the market is like. It used to be owned by a café, so it was already set up for us and we didn’t really have to invest heavily in the location.”

Leo added that when the business first came to State Street in the spring, it did very well and profits were high — in part because of the minimal start-up costs.

“We had a really good summer, an amazing summer actually. But then when school started, we saw that sales were going down,” Leo said. “This was partly due to the weather and partly due to several other frozen yogurt places coming up in the area.”

Leo explained that Swirlberry’s “superior product” also made it difficult to survive in the Ann Arbor FroYo market.

“Most of our products we make ourselves or get from local Michigan dairies, so we have to charge a bit more for it and that didn’t sit well with the student population,” he said.

And with such a competitive market, Leo said he doesn’t think Swirlberry will re-open near campus again.

“State Street is a very lovely place, but it is very competitive” Leo said. “I don’t think we’ll consider a location on campus again. Sava’s was lucky enough to find a place across the street that suited (its) needs. We looked and couldn’t really find anything that was appropriate.”

But despite the struggle of owning a business on State Street, Leo said he still believes the area has a lot of potential.

“I think the CVS will do really well in that location,” he said. “It has good traffic flow and especially when the construction (on North Quad) is done, it will be really well-suited to the needs of the students.”

David Curtis, a sales associate at Collier’s International, said Swirlberry’s challenges at the location aren’t unusual for the area. Collier’s listed both the former Shaman Drum building and the storefront previously occupied by Ritz camera.

Curtis added that the number of empty storefronts isn’t “higher than usual.”

“It’s tough for businesses to find a spot, especially when you’re leasing a space that is largely dependent on students,” he said. “So when they’re gone for the summer, the businesses go down. So unless they can take the hit that summer gives and provide services that are good all year round, it is hard for them to survive.”

Curtis said though Swirlberry’s challenges weren’t out of the ordinary businesses in the area are impacted by the difficulties of the area in different ways.

“You get food places that are doing really well there, so it depends on what you’re dealing with,” she said.

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