Crazy Jim's Widow Sells, Blimpy's Must Move.

Submitted by Seth on December 6th, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Ann, HT Andrew Fine.

"Krazy" Jim Shafer was the longtime owner of Blimpy's. Today it's owned and operated by Rich Magner but Jim's widow sold the property (including my mother's house in college) to the university.

They're not going to close but they have to move:

“I don’t know what the plans are,” Magner said. “But basically, in a nutshell, we will be able to operate in this location into summer 2013 and we will be trying to put a deal together and look for a new location.” Magner worked at Blimpy Burger in 1969 when he was a student. After working in other restaurants, he returned to Blimpy Burger and purchased the business in 1993.

Finding a place on campus is gonna be tough. For anyone who ever lived on the south side of campus, having the answer to your hangover just a few blocks away was the most important thing.



December 6th, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

Here is the number of combinations you can make there.

The number of possible Blimpy Burger combinations is:




How did we figure this out? There are four burger sizes, six cheeses (you can order all of them, some of them, or no cheese at all), four different bun types, nine different grilled items (you can get all, some, or none of them) and twelve different condiments (again you can get all, some, or none). So, according to noted Blimpy Addict Will G. -- roommate of former Blimpy staff -- the number of combinations is equal to:

6 9 12  












4 x


x 4 x



c g n
c=0 g=0 n=0            
("c" is for cheese, "g" is for grilled items, and "n" is for condiments) 
Using Matlab the following code will evaluate the expression:
>> v=0
>> for c=0:6
      for g=0:9
        for n=0:12



December 6th, 2012 at 3:40 PM ^

What in the hell does the University need to put on THAT corner? The health system is making 10% cuts across the board because they've bungled the finances, and the school is buying like there's no tomorrow.


December 6th, 2012 at 4:30 PM ^

The health system is one of the most inefficient medical systems in the country in terms of fundraising, which is why those folks need those kinds of cuts.  The University kind of lets them operate on their own turf, which has its downsides.  Those folks need to clean house and learn how to raise money properly.  They have the facilties, they have the experts- now they need to learn how to pay for them.


I hate the need to buy up all the property in Ann Arbor- when I was a student and a few years after I could see the need, but at this point it is feeling a bit sprawling.  The best thing about Ann Arbor is the city/university interplay.  If it becomes all university it takes away what made my experience unique, and what I think makes Ann Arbor such a wonderful place to live.


December 6th, 2012 at 4:48 PM ^

It's likely going to be office space. First Martin owns most of the property around it - one of the last designs I did before I moved to management was an estimate to relocate some of the facilities right around Crazy Jim's, and the folks I talked to had plans to make this part of the ISR improvements potentially, but perhaps build an independent structure. They weren't sure at that time, but they were definitely interested in the property. 

I also designed the steel poles at the intersection there - I put those there because they would last, (and the city wanted a gateway type look to our lines), as I thought Blimpy Burger would last. This is a shame to hear. 

French West Indian

December 6th, 2012 at 5:46 PM ^

And it's going to totally ruin Ann Arbor.

If the U (and some state leaders) really had some vision say 10-15 years ago, they could've done a 2nd campus in Detroit.  And maybe that could've spurred a high-speed rail connection between the two with a stop at metro airport.

Instead we get A2 slowly being squeezed as everything unique & quirky gets crushed by the U. and it's related interests.  Really kind of a shame what might have been.


December 6th, 2012 at 8:06 PM ^

This has been the refrain in A2 for years; the fact is, a lot of these unique places just don't make enough money for their location. Anyone remember the old Not Another Cafe establishment next to the Maize N Blue Deli? Nice idea, except it made no money. Now it's leased office space because no business could make the space work.

Just how college town life works.


December 6th, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

I feel like Blimpy has been struggling post Crazy Jim.  I remember in the early 2000s when I lived in SQuad, I practically lived on Blimpy for awhile.  Ever since Magner took over though it seems like their business has fallen off.  I remember during lunch hours in the warm weather you got there early or you stood for half an hour, now there is less of a line.  One Friday in June there was no line, which was just plain surreal.  

I also have to say it seems like sometime over the past two or three years, quality has also fallen off slightly.  Either that or I've just been going at times when there are bad line cooks.  The past few times I've gone the food has been inferior to Five Guys.  Hopefully they can cut a deal to move in somewhere and recover.