Then and Now: Zou Zou’s Before It was Zou Zou’s
From Chelsea Area Historical Society
Zou Zou’s is a popular stop in Chelsea, but do you know what previously occupied the building?
Most of us in Chelsea know the name, Glazier. George P Glazier came to Chelsea in 1868 to start the first bank, and three months later, he started a pharmacy in the same building on the corner of Main and Middle Streets. His son, Frank P Glazier, bought into his father’s business and worked there until 1896. Unfortunately, Frank declared bankruptcy in 1907 due to his conviction for embezzlement while serving as Treasurer of the State of Michigan.
Lou Vogel bought the building in 1909 after Glazier’s bankruptcy and operated the drug store in addition to photography and engraving services along with selling groceries. Vogel sold it to Vince Burg, Sr., in 1924.
In addition to pharmacy services, Burg added a soda fountain and a display of a collection of Native American arrowheads found over time by the local farm families within an area of 6-8 miles of Chelsea. On occasion, Burg would swap ice cream cones and sodas for pockets full of arrowheads when farm youth delivered them to the store. Once advertised as the “largest collection east of the Mississippi,” the arrowheads were donated in the 1970s to the State’s Waterloo Recreation area outside Chelsea and can be seen there today. In the mid-1920s, a map of the lakes in the Waterloo area was mounted on the side of the building that faced West Middle Street. You can now see that map mounted at the side of the Chelsea Area Historical Society Museum at 128 Jackson Street.
Burg, Sr. sold the store to Charles Lancaster in 1948, and his son, Vince Burg, Jr., worked there for many years. Dan Murphy, who also had worked at Burg Drugs, became a partner with Lancaster in 1972. The drug store renamed Chelsea Drugs, eventually moved to a plaza south of Old US 12.
After several short-lived businesses in the building, Marie-Ann Fody opened Zou Zou’s Cafe and Coffee Bar in 1998. Fody has expanded the menu--including beer and wine, added live music, and today it is a favorite meeting place for many.