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The State of Downtown Grand Rapids Retail


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Here was another humorous quote "Who wants a GAP downtown? I sure don't." Well what about an Urban Outfitters then? "Oh, that would be OK". :huh:

I loved that quote too :)

Uh...who wants a Gap downtown? How about Men and women ages 19-35 (especially if you include "Baby Gap" and "Gap Maternity").

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Yes, they are giving a valid reason for the failure of the business, at least to some, but the backlash is also there because they are giving a reason for closing while ignoring their own faults.  Pas

Interesting article:  The Next Big Challenge for Small Downtowns An excerpt which isn't specifically about GR but hits close to home - "Civic centers, government hubs, tourism and entertainment d

Since this place seems less hostile, hyperbolic and knee-jerky than every other site on the entire internet, I'll throw my 2 cents here. Original Propaganda owner: Kudos to your concept and produ

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Do you think that short-term, seasonal leases would work downtown? In the malls, retail businesses can lease spaces for the months surrounding the holiday shopping season. It could give businesses a chance to test the waters downtown, which could lead to permanent tenancy. With RPC lit and filled with ice skaters, a Christmas tree, and DA decorations, Monroe center could be a very cool destination for holiday shopping.

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Do you think that short-term, seasonal leases would work downtown? In the malls, retail businesses can lease spaces for the months surrounding the holiday shopping season. It could give businesses a chance to test the waters downtown, which could lead to permanent tenancy. With RPC lit and filled with ice skaters, a Christmas tree, and DA decorations, Monroe center could be a very cool destination for holiday shopping.

If I owned a vacant storefront on Monroe Center, I'd rather have someone commit to something short term, on a testing the waters kind of basis, than have my property continue to collect dust!

On a sort a related note - I've been reading all the recaps of our meeting with the DA folks...and want to say - we offered our energy to no avail. Let's regroup and find other folks to reach out to - maybe on a more individual basis this time...we're a group, we've got ideas, why not do our own recruiting/organizing! Viva la RTF!

*fish

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If I owned a vacant storefront on Monroe Center, I'd rather have someone commit to something short term, on a testing the waters kind of basis, than have my property continue to collect dust!

On a sort a related note - I've been reading all the recaps of our meeting with the DA folks...and want to say - we offered our energy to no avail. Let's regroup and find other folks to reach out to - maybe on a more individual basis this time...we're a group, we've got ideas, why not do our own recruiting/organizing! Viva la RTF!

*fish

Agreed. :thumbsup:

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Totally agree PR-15. It sounds like we may need to redouble our efforts and try this again in a new direction. Your input into this would be greatly appreciated. If you want to set something up Rhino6885, let me know.

I'm happy to meet up anytime. My schedule is a little nuts but will do everything I can to make a date/time stick.

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Uggh, don't even mention national retailers like that and downtown in the same breath!! Don't you know we don't want nationals downtown?

Here was another humorous quote "Who wants a GAP downtown? I sure don't." Well what about an Urban Outfitters then? "Oh, that would be OK". :huh:

It's like the whole meeting was sound byte after sound byte. :lol:

On the subject of downtown retail. Don't think to compete; think to compliment. Say we have art galleries downtown, why not compliment them with a craft or art supplies store? the Art museum could be a convincing area for an art supplies store -- unless their gift shop has a significant selection? My assumption is to keep these compliments clustered around each other.

Let's brainstorm compliments for existing retail. I don't care if its national or local retail that can be a compliment. Anyone care to put out some ideas?

Here's a list of current retail:

http://www.downtowngr.org/biz.php?maincategory_id=4

Edited by Rizzo
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It's like the whole meeting was sound byte after sound byte. :lol:

On the subject of downtown retail. Don't think to compete; think to compliment. Say we have art galleries downtown, why not compliment them with a craft or art supplies store? the Art museum could be a convincing area for an art supplies store -- unless their gift shop has a significant selection? My assumption is to keep these compliments clustered around each other.

Let's brainstorm compliments for existing retail. I don't care if its national or local retail that can be a compliment. Anyone care to put out some ideas?

Here's a list of current retail:

http://www.downtowngr.org/biz.php?maincategory_id=4

Great idea to brainstorm here, Rizzo. I'll chime in. Maybe should this be a separate thread? Here for discussion, there for ideas? Separate the positive idea flow from frustration (that I, too, feel)? Just a thought...

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Great idea to brainstorm here, Rizzo. I'll chime in. Maybe should this be a separate thread? Here for discussion, there for ideas? Separate the positive idea flow from frustration (that I, too, feel)? Just a thought...

Feel free to start another topic. I think we've had past ones that asked what kind of retail people would like to see downtown, but it might be time for a new one. It's pretty difficult to keep the frustration out though.

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Anybody else here the radio ads about GR the last few days on the oldies station (I know I'm a gray hair :thumbsup: ) The guy (Tim Allen?) goes on about dozens of boutiques, smells from restaurants etc. First time I heard it I figured it was an ad for Grand Haven or Saugatuck. When he said GR, I laughed out loud. Sure sounds like misleading advertising to me IMHO.

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Anybody else here the radio ads about GR the last few days on the oldies station (I know I'm a gray hair :thumbsup: ) The guy (Tim Allen?) goes on about dozens of boutiques, smells from restaurants etc. First time I heard it I figured it was an ad for Grand Haven or Saugatuck. When he said GR, I laughed out loud. Sure sounds like misleading advertising to me IMHO.

They're running them non-stop here in Chicago. I was really excited by it and thrilled. When I heard the radio piece I thought of Holland or even Rockford.

I don't know who the commercial is aimed at. At first I thought it was aimed at people looking for a small town type of place. The folks I know that should be targeted are those that want electricity and visual excitement -- the real substance downtown already has to offer. There are many "downtown" alternatives in the Metro area. It would make the most sense to deviate from them and offer up that no other downtown can deliver!

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We will be meeting up this Wednesday, October 17, at 7 p.m. Four Friends has worked well for us in the past, so let's do it there again. I've been e-mailing people who have showed interest in the past. If you would like to be added to this list, send me a PM. Everybody is welcome!

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We will be meeting up this Wednesday, October 17, at 7 p.m. Four Friends has worked well for us in the past, so let's do it there again. I've been e-mailing people who have showed interest in the past. If you would like to be added to this list, send me a PM. Everybody is welcome!

IN THE REAR, not up front by the nekkid DDA banner holding posts. Indoors. Couches.

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Anybody else here the radio ads about GR the last few days on the oldies station (I know I'm a gray hair :thumbsup: ) The guy (Tim Allen?) goes on about dozens of boutiques, smells from restaurants etc. First time I heard it I figured it was an ad for Grand Haven or Saugatuck. When he said GR, I laughed out loud. Sure sounds like misleading advertising to me IMHO.

Yes, the guy in the ad is Tim Allen. It's part of the MEDC's "Pure Michigan" campaign. There's a thread about it here:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/script-T...len-t37310.html

All of the TV and radio spots are on their website at:

http://www.michigan.org/medc/aboutus/biz/?c=TM

Edited by highwayguy
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rhino6885 was talking to me about this....I should consider this. I will just have to find time to read 23 pages. I didn't have time to read the 52 pages about the GRAM...sigh. I just think it's very important because I grew up in St. Louis and last year during the World Series, STL was marked as the most dangerous city in the US, not according to me, though I could tell stories. Anyway, downtown St. Louis is completely empty. There are government workers, my mother was a programmer downtown at a courthouse and when my brother and I went to work with her I would see tons and tons of stores boarded up. There was one mall but that was sparsely populated. I have also watched the population numbers decline. Luckily there's University City right outside of downtown St. Louis but I think for a city to thrive, the downtown has to be great, lots of people, foot traffic, and reasons to be there.

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rhino6885 was talking to me about this....I should consider this. I will just have to find time to read 23 pages. I didn't have time to read the 52 pages about the GRAM...sigh. I just think it's very important because I grew up in St. Louis and last year during the World Series, STL was marked as the most dangerous city in the US, not according to me, though I could tell stories. Anyway, downtown St. Louis is completely empty. There are government workers, my mother was a programmer downtown at a courthouse and when my brother and I went to work with her I would see tons and tons of stores boarded up. There was one mall but that was sparsely populated. I have also watched the population numbers decline. Luckily there's University City right outside of downtown St. Louis but I think for a city to thrive, the downtown has to be great, lots of people, foot traffic, and reasons to be there.

I agree with you that for a downtown to thrive, it needs lots of foot traffic and people. That usually means people living downtown or very near downtown or with easy access.

You probably have not been to downtown St. Louis lately, or you would know about the loft boom going on there in the old garment district and other areas of downtown. The downtown St. Louis population is booming now, and they are starting to get the foot traffic and restaurant scene you refer to. I was there last weekend and car traffic was light, but the restaurants were packed, even with no baseball, football, or hockey in town. Centene corporation just announced it is moving its headquarters to downtown St. Louis in Ballpark Village with 2 new 30 story towers. Wachovia's just bought AG Edwards west of downtown and is moving its Richmond Securities operations there to merge with AG Edwards facilities. The downtown mall you mentioned couldn't compete with the suburbs, but it is being replaced with a large condo and office complex with retail on the first level streets. Hotels construction is everywhere and a new Four Seasons hotel high rise opens downtown in December. St. Louis aspires to having a Boston-style downtown and is getting there faster than anyone would have predicted 8 years ago.

St. Louis City got some bad PR for crime, but the Morgan Quitno "cities" report has been largely discredited by the FBI for its "cities" methodology. St. Louis City is only 12% of the metro population, and happens to contain all the metro area core crime pockets, and none of the lower crime suburbs. So the crime rate is distored compared to other cities, such as Houston, whose core crime is diluted by inclusion of suburbs in its vast city limts. In Morgan Quitno metro-area rankings, St. Louis is ranked much better -- #129, vs. #22 for Houston, I believe -- more what you would expect for a stable Midwestern city.

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I agree with you that for a downtown to thrive, it needs lots of foot traffic and people. That usually means people living downtown or very near downtown or with easy access.

You probably have not been to downtown St. Louis lately, or you would know about the loft boom going on there in the old garment district and other areas of downtown.

LOL Gary, did you do a search of the entire UrbanPlanet site looking for anyone talking about St. Louis?

Moving on.

Our meeting the other night was very interesting. We will be having more meetings in the near future, so stay tuned.

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LOL Gary, did you do a search of the entire UrbanPlanet site looking for anyone talking about St. Louis?

Moving on.

Our meeting the other night was very interesting. We will be having more meetings in the near future, so stay tuned.

Yes. They just fixed the search feature allow cities with a period in them to participate on this board, GRDadof3, if that is your real name. Everyone online is so afraid to use their real names to maintain their anonymity I guess.

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Yes. They just fixed the search feature allow cities with a period in them to participate on this board, GRDadof3, if that is your real name. Everyone online is so afraid to use their real names to maintain their anonymity I guess.

Welcome to Grand Rapids, Mich.

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Yes. They just fixed the search feature allow cities with a period in them to participate on this board, GRDadof3, if that is your real name. Everyone online is so afraid to use their real names to maintain their anonymity I guess.

Yes, that's my real name.

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