The West Washtenaw Business Association’s mission is to unify members with common interests in improving economic, environmental, and security conditions within our community. The WWBA provides a forum for communication, group benefit participation, and social outreach.
The WWBA grew from two preceding business organizations: the Jackson Road Business Association (JRBA) and West Stadium Area Business and Professional Association (WSABPA).
A business group arose in 1959 upon learning that the State Highway Department was planning only one entry ramp along the Jackson Road corridor for the proposed I-94 expressway–that being at Fletcher Road by Stiver’s Restaurant. The initial association was conceived in front of Holland Furniture Store by Jacob Grant of Farmer Grant’s, Herman Weber of Weber’s Supper Club, and Walter Ernst of Paul Bunyan’s Restaurant. Their efforts helped obtain ramps at Baker and Zeeb roads. In 1963, a formal association was formed, bylaws adopted, and the official name agreed upon as the Jackson Road Business Association. Jacob Grant was the first president.
JRBA accomplishments, other than the highway exits, include: persuading Michigan Consolidated Gas to put a natural gas line down the Jackson Road corridor and Michigan Bell to remove telephone toll charges along Jackson Road, getting sewer and water services to the corridor, and improving the paving and expansion of Jackson Road. JRBA also erected directory signs at Zeeb and Baker Roads (although the construction along Jackson Road in 2002 brought about the removal of the Zeeb Road sign).
The West Stadium Area Business and Professional Association originated in 1971 to help promote the West Stadium corridor as a viable business community and to provide social interaction opportunities among merchants. Gertrude Bethke and Dick Leslie were officers of the original board of directors. Enthusiasm dwindled in the late 70s and mention of merging with JRBA was considered in 1982, although not accepted at that time. WSABPA reorganized and accomplished the inauguration of a $60,000 three-year tree-planting schedule along West Stadium and adjoining routes, in cooperation with the Elizabeth Dean Fund (a cost-sharing program offered by the Ann Arbor Department of Parks and Recreation). The association also began publishing a monthly newsletter: The Boulevard Banter and started the “Shop the Boulevard” logo used in group advertising, decals, and banners. During the 90s the tradition of a summer picnic for the merchants was adopted as well as an annual community involvement fund/friend raiser, Walk the Boulevard.
In the fall of 2001, the JRBA and the WSABPA merged to become the West Washtenaw Business Association (WWBA). The bylaws were changed and the state and IRS approved the name of the new organization.