Taco truck, art supply store, and event planner all take businesses to next level in Ypsi

Here's how three businesses are expanding their operations in downtown Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.
Last summer Ypsilanti unfortunately lost a handful of small businesses to major downtown construction projects, the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other challenges. Those losses, though, have not stopped other entrepreneurs from taking their operations to the next level in Ypsi and Ypsi Township, and supporting each other along the way.

One such business is Don Guicho's Kitchen, a Mexican food truck and catering business that moved in at 818 Ecorse Rd. in Ypsilanti Township after Cuppy’s Best Soul Food relocated from the site two years ago. Truck owner Luis Guicho operates the business with his wife and two children. Although they've brought fan-favorite dishes like asada fries and birria quesadillas to cities as far from Ypsi as Romeo, Mich., the following they’ve found in Ypsi has prompted them to begin the process of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in addition to their food truck.

"We were the first food truck on Ecorse," Guicho explains. "We’re doing good in this area, and we have a bunch of regulars who come by often."

Don Guicho’s Kitchen is open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 p.m.-8 p.m., barring holidays. Guicho says the business' parking lot "will be full from 4 to close" most days, and customers will even call ahead to order, knowing how busy the window of the truck can get. He also notes that some people have a distrust of food trucks, and he hopes to minimize that stigma by building relationships with his customers both through his food and his personality.
Don Guicho's Kitchen owner Luis Guicho.
"We really like the people around here, and people seem to really like us," he says.

Guicho originally considered bringing his business to Ann Arbor, but Ypsi's Hispanic community,  positive response from Ypsi residents, and the opportunity to be close to his family’s Ypsi home made the Ecorse location more appealing. Renovations have begun on the building the truck is parked in front of to allow Guicho to expand his business.

"A truck is fun and faster than a restaurant, but there are more things you can do in a restaurant," explains Guicho, who wants to add more menu options, like pastas and birria egg rolls, that are not as easy to pull off in the space of a food truck. "We don’t want to settle for small portions, or just tacos. We want to step up a bit."

Stepping up seems to be a theme for other Ypsi businesses, like Ypsi Art Supply and Atelier. Not even a year had passed since Megan Foldenauer opened up her art supply store as a pop-up in Riverside Arts Center (RAC) on Huron Street in downtown Ypsilanti before she came upon the opportunity to transition into a larger, dedicated space just down the street at 42 N. Huron St.
Ypsi Art Supply and Atelier owner Megan Foldenauer.
"I knew I wanted to do this and move to a larger location with a storefront, but that was in the future for me," explains Foldenauer, who opened Ypsi Art Supply in the spring of 2023 and finished moving to her new space at the beginning of February. "It was maybe a month between seeing that the space was available and taking over the space as mine."

Foldenauer says the larger space, previously occupied by Silver Spoon Antiques, not only will allow her to expand her inventory, but also open up the space to local artists and creators to hold classes and workshops. She also hopes to adjust the shop’s hours to better fit with her neighbors on Huron, who she says have all been "very helpful" and supportive of her since moving into RAC back in April.

"When I started, I realized I knew so many people who owned businesses in downtown and Depot Town who were supporting my ideas and answering my questions," Foldenauer says. 

Foldenauer says there's a "growing arts district" on Huron Street thanks to "quirky and cool" neighbors like RAC, Evenstar’s Chalice, World of Rocks, and Twisted Things Boutique.
Ypsi Art Supply and Atelier.
"It’s hard to describe how accepting and open it feels," she says.

Foldenauer hopes to continue to support the artist community in the Ypsi area and beyond with her business.

"Personally, as an artist I would much rather buy my supplies from other artists in my community, and I hope people understand I’m in it with them and I want to be of service to them," she says. "I want to expand some sections, and I’m always looking for feedback."

One business owner Foldenauer mentions as a catalyst for opening her business is Unicorn Feed and Supply's Jen Eastridge, who recently transitioned that business to a wholly online model. She held a furniture and fixture sale after her brick-and-mortar store at 114 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Ypsi closed, and a number of those fixtures found a new home at Ypsi Art Supply. During that sale, another business owner saw an opportunity to fill Unicorn Feed and Supply's former Michigan Avenue storefront.
Owner Elise Post at Yours Truly Events and Novelties.
Elise Post opened Yours Truly Events and Novelties in 2019, operating until this month as an entirely online business focused on event planning and creating custom event apparel and decor. Post, who is originally from Ypsi but now lives in Canton, says Unicorn Feed and Supply’s closing sale led her to form a relationship with Eastridge in the hope of bringing Post's business back home to Ypsi.

"We fell in love with the space and with each other, and the rest was history," Post says. "We’ve been looking for a space for a long time, and Jen was really excited to support a woman-owned business."

Post says she is "very excited" to be back in Ypsi. She collaborated with a number of local businesses to provide food and raffle gifts for Yours Truly's grand opening on Feb. 9, and she hopes to continue to collaborate with Ypsi businesses in the future. She says the storefront will act as an event venue for Yours Truly in addition to holding off-site events, but she also wants the site to be a community meeting space for other business owners, nonprofits, and educators.

"This is a very versatile space," Post says. "I want people to come and host their events and meetings here. I want to host events for the community and I want to make a space for other small businesses like yoga instructors or soapmakers and photographers to host classes and utilize the space."
Elise Post with her son Andre at Yours Truly Events and Novelties.
Post has been in the event-planning business for the past 10 years, and she hopes her physical space in Ypsi will allow for her to integrate into the community while uplifting fellow businesses. She is excited to see how Yours Truly can evolve in its new Ypsi home.

"There’s not a lot of event spaces around here that cater completely to the client, and it’s needed here," Post says. "This will give us an opportunity to create a space for other businesses."

Whether you're looking for a new set of watercolor paints, a place for your small business to hold a holiday party, or affordable and tasty tacos, Ypsi has no shortage of small businesses to patronize, with business owners who are excited to not just provide a service but to be enmeshed with Ypsi’s community. To keep up to date on events and hours at Yours Truly, Ypsi Art Supply and Atelier and Don Guicho’s Kitchen, check out their websites and social media accounts. 

"Ypsi has an incredible collection of small business owners who really believe in the city and want to do it great," Foldenauer says. "It really does feel like we’re all in it together."

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

All photos by Doug Coombe.
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