Popular Ypsilanti eatery Beezy's Café
will expand its business into Ypsilanti District Library's
(YDL) Whittaker Road location next week, as Beezy's takes over operations of the library's vacant café
Starting Jan. 9, Beezy's Library Café will offer coffee, tea, and cold bottled beverages, as well as snacks and lunch options including the freshly made soups and sandwiches patrons are used to getting at Beezy's main location in downtown Ypsi. Seasonal items, like smoothies, could be added later.
Since adding the café space in 2008, YDL has contracted local businesses to run it — first Primo Coffee and then B-24's Espresso Bar
, which left in October. Library spokesperson Gillian Ream Gainsley says generating enough customers can be a challenge.
"We have around 6,000 visitors a week [at YDL-Whittaker], but most of them are not here for coffee and, of course, it is much lower traffic than you'd get in downtown Ypsilanti," she says.
But she thinks Beezy's reputation outside the library will help make it a destination.
"Beezy's has a real regional draw," she says. "I know people from metro Detroit who make a special trip to Beezy's whenever they are in Washtenaw County. I think Beezy's at the library will attract people who work nearby and just want to stop in for lunch."
Gainsley says Beezy's success as a homegrown business serving high-quality food make it a great partner for the library. The café will also keep hours that more closely mirror the library's than previous tenants had.
"We have people here all hours of the day, whether they are working on projects or bringing their kids to a program or applying for jobs," Gainsley says. "The fact that library patrons can rely on being able to grab a snack or coffee anytime without needing to leave the library really adds to the level of service that we offer."
Beezy's motto of "simple, honest food" also fits well with YDL programs aimed at promoting nutrition, Gainsley says, including gardens at two locations, cooking classes for teens and tweens, a seed library, and free lunches for kids in the summer.
"We believe in supporting the health of our community, and one way to do this is increasing awareness and access to fresh foods," she says. "It's great to have a café that shares that philosophy."
The library café follows another big move for Beezy's, which recently expanded
its catering and banquet business into the building across the street from its North Washington Street home.
Café hours are 9 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.