The mix of locally-owned shops on South University Avenue in the early twentieth century reflected the diverse needs of students, faculty, and professionals living nearby. The street’s first bookstore, Schleede's, opened in 1910, three doors from the grocery on this corner. Varsity Toggery and Cooch Shoes opened soon after and catered to the formal dress of the time. Restaurants, dry cleaners, a tailor, and a barber joined the mix in the 1920s. By 1945 Mademoiselle and June Grey for women, Camelet for men, jewelry shops and beauty parlors, set an increasingly fashionable trend.
South University was like a small village by the 1950s, with its own branch bank, post office, movie theater, and five gas stations. The stores drew customers from the whole town. Artisan’s shop was known as a place for "that special gift." The Art Fair began here in 1960 and soon attracted visitors from all over the country.