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Sweetwaters grows to 7 locations with new cafes in Ann Arbor, Canton


Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea is on the precipice of opening its sixth and seventh cafe this summer, an expansion that will cap its 23rd year of growth in the Ann Arbor area.

Wei and Lisa Bee opened the first Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea coffee shop in 1993 not long after they graduated from the University of Michigan. Since then they have steadily opened more locations on their own and through franchisees. Many times those opportunities sought out the Bees.

"It was something our regular guests were asking us about," Lisa Bee says.

The second Sweetwaters cafe opened in Kerrytown about 10 years ago. It now has cafes open there and in Ypsilanti, on U-M’s campus, and in Plymouth Green Crossings on Ann Arbor’s northeast side. The next two stores are set to open in the Westgate Shopping Center and in Canton by the end of this summer. Each will have the feel of the original Sweetwaters cafe but with its own unique aspects.

"Every one of our Sweetwaters looks a little bit different," Lisa Bee says. "We try to make each location unique to the community."

The Sweetwaters cafe in the Westgate Shopping Center on Ann Arbor's west side is going inside the Ann Arbor District Library branch. There will be a coffee car inside the library but no seating. The library itself will serve as the cafe's seating. It will be Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea's third corporate store and is on target to open by late August or early September. The library cafe is coming about because the Bee family's kids are active members of the local library community.

"We are very familiar with the Ann Arbor District Library," Lisa Bee says. "We love it."

The Sweetwaters in Canton is set to open by the first week of August. That is location is being opened as a franchise. It's located in a small strip mall at 302 N. Canton Center Road. The 1,600-square-foot space will be able to hold 50 people.
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