Zingerman's has paradoxically built a world-famous retail brand by promoting top-quality, locally grounded, artisanal production, and the deli is the bedrock on which all the other Zingerman's businesses were built. Expanding the cramped, byzantine space of the original store without destroying its charm would probably have been approached carefully just to protect the brand, but the city's historic district commission insured it. "We made it as complicated as we could," laughs Singleton, listing some of the other complexities. The adjacent residential property had to be rezoned, but that didn't alter the DDA boundary that now bisects the newly combined parcel. Zingerman's opted for even more bureaucracy when it applied for brownfield grants and TIF (tax increment financing) for the project.
Singleton is one of three managing partners. The other two, Rodger Bowser and Rick Strutz, kept the corned beef moving while she managed the construction. How'd she do it?
The outdoorsy-looking, forty-four-year-old bicycle road racer is a down-to-earth administrator. "Well, I was sitting with [Zingerman's co-founder] Paul [Saginaw], and said 'How do we start?' He said, 'You call people.' I said, '... oh ... OK.' So I started calling people and setting up meetings."