One of the reasons we started this Supporter of the Month feature was
to acknowledge and honor the many businesses that, like vertebrae,
form the backbone of much of what 826michigan does around town. There
are many such businesses, but one of the largest and most important is
the one-and-only Andy Garris, barman and Ypsilanti personality
extraordinaire. Andy has been associated with many Ypsilanti
establishments, but his current gig is at a place EQUALLY wonderful as
he is: Woodruff’s Bar in Depot Town!
(How far can we take this vertebrae metaphor? Will we name an EXACT
vertebra to which we will compare Andy and Woodruff’s? Answer: no. But
suffice to say it is, again, a large and important one. And it
probably has a mustache.)
Andy Garris is known for many things: his mean Bloody Mary, his sense
of style, and yes, his mustache. But we also know him as an
enthusiastic and generous person who has, over the years, shown
himself to be more than willing to help 826michigan out in any way he
And OH, has he helped 826michigan.
You have probably at this point heard about last month’s Mittenfest
VI, which featured 60 awesome bands and raised $21,290 for our
Ypsilanti-based programs. It was, to say the very least, an
astonishing event for us. And it really, really — REALLY —
could not have happened without Andy and the amazingly dedicated staff
at Woodruff’s, who ably manned the door, slung drinks at the bar,
served delicious food, and ushered the festival through innumerable
band changes with nary a hitch. The staff performed like the
proverbial well-oiled machine, and as with any such performance it was
delightful to watch and to be a part of.
But Mittenfest VI is not the only successful event Andy has made
possible — not by FAR. Andy has been a friend of 826michigan for so
long that enumerating his contributions would be well-nigh impossible.
Last year, Woodruff’s hosted the Love Hangover and the Spelling Bee
for Honest Cheaters (which raised $23,000!), to say nothing of an
incredible poetry slam featuring students from Ozone House and (I am
told) some DELICIOUS corndogs. All of these events were staffed with
the same dedication and skill shown at Mittenfest VI. And before too
long, 826michigan will be returning to Woodruff’s for this year’s
iterations of the Love Hangover and the Spelling Bee!
We are SO grateful to everyone over at Woodruff’s for giving
826michigan a home away from home. (And what a home it is! We are
extremely partial to the needlepoint presidents hanging above the
fireplace.) We can’t wait to see you all again to shake off our Love