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rstravis

Other cities' view of Grand Rapids

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OK, I just had to move away from our fair city. Hated to do it, but the job market forced me to, so I'm living between Chicago and Kankakee now.

I lived in Indianapolis a few years back, and when I said I was from Grand Rapids, half the people didn't really even know where it was -- they thought it was a Detroit suburb or something. Later on, when I lived in Milwaukee, people had heard of GR, but assumed it to be a small town the size of Sheboygan or so.

Now, here in Chicago, most people I've run across have had a very positive image of GR in their minds. I've met several who have been there and tell me what a great city they think it is.

So what's the deal -- does it have to do with being closer to Chicago (I doubt it, because we're not THAT far from Milwaukee), or is GR really improving its reputation throughout the midwest? Or did I just happen to run into a few of the right people?

What do you think? How do people talk about GR in other cities you've been to? Just curious.

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I'm living in Schaumburg and all I get is odd looks when I goto to pay for my things and the cashier laddy asks for my phone number. 616... Where's that? Grand Rapids, Michigan.... Where? That's when I pull out the trusty hand and show her. What brings you to Chicago?

I just don't think GR is the caliber of city to be recognized in the general population.

Grand Rapids should brand itself like this:

righthererd7.jpg

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As far as other cities here in Michigan, everyone loves GR. Bring up GR in a conversation and word of development gets around. So typically its always positive. Here in Ann Arbor, it's kind of funny to hear what people from other states say. "Well I guess they have a few tall buildings and a nice historic downtown" That's good enough for me.

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I guess our city ordained ad agency is better than we first assumed. The secret is working :shok:

My friends from Indianapolis have seen our "Michigan's West Coast" TV ads and ask if we really have beaches.

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When I'm out of state and the subject of GR comes up, I'm met with total Eye Glaze

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In 2004 when I told folks in metro Detroit/A2 about my pending move, the reactions were generally along the lines of, "which church cult are you joining?"

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I talked to people in detroit once about grand rapids and one didn't even know what it was, the other told the first that GR is exactly like detroit, just on a smaller scale and with a small town feel, and said it was really nice. Could be because that person said she's been there before. But I think that was a couple years ago.

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OK, I just had to move away from our fair city. Hated to do it, but the job market forced me to, so I'm living between Chicago and Kankakee now.

I lived in Indianapolis a few years back, and when I said I was from Grand Rapids, half the people didn't really even know where it was -- they thought it was a Detroit suburb or something. Later on, when I lived in Milwaukee, people had heard of GR, but assumed it to be a small town the size of Sheboygan or so.

Now, here in Chicago, most people I've run across have had a very positive image of GR in their minds. I've met several who have been there and tell me what a great city they think it is.

So what's the deal -- does it have to do with being closer to Chicago (I doubt it, because we're not THAT far from Milwaukee), or is GR really improving its reputation throughout the midwest? Or did I just happen to run into a few of the right people?

What do you think? How do people talk about GR in other cities you've been to? Just curious.

There is a distinct difference between Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago. Chicagoans come by the tens of thousand to and through West Michigan during the Summer. Milwaukeeans just head to Northern Wisconsin to travel. I have no idea where Indianapolisites go for vacation, but not here in any great numbers. That's why many people from Chicagoland have an impression of GR, and they generally equate it in a good light.

I feel for ya rstravis. I just can't imagine having to move to that no-mans-land South of Chicago. There's a certain point you reach between Chicago and Bloomington, IL that is some of the flattest blandest land in the country.

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people are just ignorant. the same people who don't know where GR is are the same people who don't even know that MI is two peninsulas.

High school Geography anyone?

These days... unless your city has a major leage football or basketball team, most people aren't going to know anything about your city. sad but true. I'm sure the same thing goes for a city like Louisville, KY. Pretty good sized (it even has the KY derby), but no big sports teams. Well... maybe people know that they have baseball bats there?

A lot of people I talk to that don't know anything about GR get it confused with Rapid City, IA.

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No, I don't think we should call folks that don't know about GR as ignorant -- sounds to negative. What about "unaware."

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Ive never been to GR, but it looks like its really nice.

I find it amazing that some people are amazed when they see pictures of the great lakes. On Flickr, someone had a pic of lake michigan posted, and someone commented "That is in Michigan?!" and someone else said "Thats a lake!?

I mean come on, look on a map, what did you think lake michigan was, a pond?

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Sadly I worked with people from all around the country and there are actually people that have never even heard of GR! Then there are those that asked me what state it was in. I am amazed at how many are unaware of our city but I have a feeling that its all going to change soon.

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Most people that I know from elsewhere in Michigan have a favorable image of GR. Two of my good friends want to come back eventually even. Outside of Michigan, people have asked where Grand Rapids was or those that did thought that it was a small town.

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Sadly I worked with people from all around the country and there are actually people that have never even heard of GR! Then there are those that asked me what state it was in. I am amazed at how many are unaware of our city but I have a feeling that its all going to change soon.

Do you say you get this feeling based on recent economic developments? Could you please expound?

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I just feel that we are starting to get more recognition and national attention for our development and I don't see any end to the development any time soon. What makes a city more recognized? Word of mouth and mass media. I think we are getting more of both of those right now. One thing I know for sure is we have some of the most patriotic (on the city level) citizens of anyplace I have seen or heard of and people in our city really care and are the first to want to tell others about how great our city is. Maybe I'm just being optimistic. On the pessimistic side of things I think the two possible bottlenecks for future development could be the GR public school system and public transportation if we don't focus and pay close attention to both.

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Not that this adds any substantive value, but I do remember it addressed briefly in another thread, but my sister's friend, (New Mexico) was to GR once and commented how attractive the female population was.

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I just feel that we are starting to get more recognition and national attention for our development and I don't see any end to the development any time soon. What makes a city more recognized? Word of mouth and mass media. I think we are getting more of both of those right now. One thing I know for sure is we have some of the most patriotic (on the city level) citizens of anyplace I have seen or heard of and people in our city really care and are the first to want to tell others about how great our city is. Maybe I'm just being optimistic. On the pessimistic side of things I think the two possible bottlenecks for future development could be the GR public school system and public transportation if we don't focus and pay close attention to both.

Well said vexom. I think I've mentioned before too that having a pro sports team or two also raises the level of national exposure. But that may be at least a decade out in the future.

Better public transportation has to be looked at and concentrated on now, because it takes about 10 years to see mass transit plans start to take shape. Just look at any city adding or expanding their mass transit systems, and look to see how long ago it was that they started their "feasibility studies".

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Not that this adds any substantive value, but I do remember it addressed briefly in another thread, but my sister's friend, (New Mexico) was to GR once and commented how attractive the female population was.

sadly enough I have heard the opposite :wacko: for every potato, there a po'tot'o

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My friends from Indianapolis have seen our "Michigan's West Coast" TV ads and ask if we really have beaches.
people are just ignorant. the same people who don't know where GR is are the same people who don't even know that MI is two peninsulas.

High school Geography anyone?

I find it amazing that some people are amazed when they see pictures of the great lakes. On Flickr, someone had a pic of lake michigan posted, and someone commented "That is in Michigan?!" and someone else said "Thats a lake!?

I mean come on, look on a map, what did you think lake michigan was, a pond?

Many Michiganians themselves seem clueless about Michigan geography, the Great Lakes, etc. The following question was posed on Yahoo! Answers:

"Where is there to hang out?

Okay me and my boyfriend want to go somewhere to hang out. We live in Michigan so there's not a beach or anything, and we don't really want to go to the movies or the mall..... ideas?"

:dontknow: Michigan has four Great Lakes within its borders, 3,300 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes, and hundreds of islands, but, apparently, no beaches!

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A person I ran into lived in GR 20-25 years ago during college and their thoughts are exactly what you would expect out of GR circa 1980's - nothing going on not a nice downtown no big reason to live here over metro detroit.

Since the arena went in 10 years ago all the positive change has just started to happen. Anyone with memories based on 1990 or earlier dont seem to think much of GR.

I met someone who went to school here in the early to mid 90's that now lives in chicago and they liked GR, though not a ton to do given that they were in college at the time as well. They commented on how great it is now and nobody else really knows the amount of improvement yet.

My thought is that it is gonna take tons o time...

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... One thing I know for sure is we have some of the most patriotic (on the city level) citizens of anyplace I have seen or heard of and people in our city really care and are the first to want to tell others about how great our city is. ...

[raises hand, waves wildly]

I was just on the city's easy-to-use website reporting a concern in my new 'hood. Called Traffic. Answer provided. Called cops. "I'll mention it to the officers." Done.

Yesterday it took about ten minutes to ride my bike to the parade start. I could never do that in metro D. Riding home, I wandered through some streets I haven't visited before, and once on my new street I noticed plenty of friendly new neighbors sitting out front (they waved back). Dang I love this town.

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Many Michiganians themselves seem clueless about Michigan geography, the Great Lakes, etc. The following question was posed on Yahoo! Answers:

"Where is there to hang out?

Okay me and my boyfriend want to go somewhere to hang out. We live in Michigan so there's not a beach or anything, and we don't really want to go to the movies or the mall..... ideas?"

:dontknow: Michigan has four Great Lakes within its borders, 3,300 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,000 inland lakes, and hundreds of islands, but, apparently, no beaches!

You're also never more than 30/50/80 miles from a lake (depending on your definition of a lake)

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This sort of qualifies: I have a friend who lives in Hong Kong, although he grew up here. He just came back to GR for the first time in three years. Now that he's back in HK, he says he misses the fresh air. While here, he was impressed with how the city has grown up a bit - more of a hip/urban feel to it.

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This sort of qualifies: I have a friend who lives in Hong Kong, although he grew up here. He just came back to GR for the first time in three years. Now that he's back in HK, he says he misses the fresh air. While here, he was impressed with how the city has grown up a bit - more of a hip/urban feel to it.

Probably because we don't shoot fireworks off of every highrise ever single night. :dontknow::lol:

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