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The State of Downtown Grand Rapids Retail


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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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Thanks for the info Gary. You can PM me about STL all you want. I doubt no one in GR cares.

Your contributor, Jeang, brought up St. Louis to make a point about density downtown, and I was agreeing, if you re-read my post. And then I went on to update your readers on current things going on in St. Louis, versus the old city Jeang live in long ago, apparenly. Since your contributors brought up St. Louis as an example, check out how your city can also turn thing around quickly with tax credits for historic restoration, as St. Louis has.

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What happened at the recent DRTF meeting?

We had a lengthy conversation with a newcomer who had a lot of great things to say. We left with a plan to get more involved. Sorry for the ambiguity...I'm sure more info will come eventually. The early shutdown of downtown retail is something we have discussed heavily. It's something that must change in the long run, but businesses will be reluctant to do so until they can see that doing so will be beneficial. Monroe Center is still somewhat quiet once the business crowd leaves. But enjoy it now! haha...

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Are the retail hours really anything that you could effectively change? Isn't that more of retails answer to the market? I say this, because I think the energy would be wasted trying to convince everyone to stay open longer and have all the same hours. Its been said that its not effective to have everyone open longer for retail revitalization.

BTW, it will soon be "let's go." with a sexy high heel. :)

Edited by Rizzo
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Just a note: last time I was in downtown Chicago and visited an Arby's, just 1-2 streets off of Michigan. They closed at 6PM.

But there in lies the difference. Arby's would be classified as service retail/restaurant, catering to the 9 - 5 crowd that works down there. Destination shops like H&M, Macy's, etc. are open much later because they attract a much wider demographic.

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But there in lies the difference. Arby's would be classified as service retail/restaurant, catering to the 9 - 5 crowd that works down there. Destination shops like H&M, Macy's, etc. are open much later because they attract a much wider demographic.

When I was there in August, I know Subway's was open until around midnight.

I'm just curious what the occupancy rate of all the apartments, condos, etc. downtown is. Just wondering if most of the effort to get retail in the downtown comes from people who live downtown as well. What do people who live downtown think?

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Obtained a ballpark price on DDA-style banners.

Depending on the number of colors, about $100 each. A certain neighborhood assn ordered 30 of them (from the place I found in Kalamazoo) and hung up 25 (saving some for swapping out). Bracket hardware costs about another $100 (a one-time purchase), and installation is roughly $50/hour/two banners.

They used part of their Cool Cities grant to cover these costs.

And here's a re-post of how it could look:

MC-SNOW1.jpgmc-snow2.jpg

GRPDwall2-2.jpg

Edited by Veloise
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...

Paraphrased quote #2:

"If Angina's (now Gina's) was really selling that many clothes, the market demand would bring other retailers downtown".

Ok, first they throw one of their own members under the bus. Secondly, I would say the opposite (and I know this from personal, first-hand experience of shopping with my wife ;) ). Unless looking for a specific item that they *know* is available, people like choices. What if Gina's doesn't have the size my wife wants? What if my wife likes a pair of pants at Gina's, but also wants a top, purse, shoes, jewelry to go with it. Retail helps retail. Retail helps retail. If we say it three times will the city understand? ...

jadestone.jpg

Edited by Veloise
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That's what I thought. Are we talking about a retail clothing store?

Sign says Jadestone Custom Clothing. "Men's and Women's Custom-Made Suits." Under that are three lines listing "in collaboration" with other ventures...I think massage therapy was one of them.

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Oooh, I really like the look of that "Let's Go" ad. I haven't seen any on buses or billboards yet - that's the first I've seen. NICE font choice (really been getting nerdy over fonts lately). And the colors and layout have a real crispness and freshness I really like.

I've read you all lampooning KIAS for a little while now, and honestly, the tiny mention of it on downtowngr.org is the first I've ever seen or heard of it outside of here. I guess they really were doing a good job of keeping it a secret.

Anyway, I hope I catch a Let's Go ad on a bus or billboard somewhere. Right now I can say I'm really liking the look of it.

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What a great article, I hope the GCM is here to stay! Does anyone have any news about Bloom since its move? I stopped in there with a friend Thursday night around 7:00, and we were literally the only ones in there! She had the signature drink, which has Pop Rocks (yum) around the rim, and I had a green tea martini.

I haven't yet sampled its breakfast menu, but I'm sure I will in the coming weeks; any recommendations?

ETA. . . Oh, no, is it true? I was told there is no breakfast menu. ::Sigh:: Also, I had dinner at Bloom Friday night, everything was very good. I think once the restaurant figures out how to get people in on weeknights (and hopefully at least for Sunday morning breakfast), it'll do just fine. I'm excited to sample their lunch menu this week.

Edited by Parhelion
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Is there any word on the fate of the parcel on the SE corner of Fulton and Division? I wish someone would make it a movie theater. In my mind, I see one similar to the Uptown Palladium 12 in Birmingham, Michigan. I think it would draw a 'date night' crowd, as well as those in downtown, Heritage Hill and beyond.

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An article in the Grand Rapids Business Journal

Senate Interested In Downtown Retail

"The state Senate is looking into making revisions to the 32-year-old law that gave birth to downtown development authorities, and a few of the potential changes are aimed at helping develop retail businesses in these districts.

One change would let a DDA operate retail incubators in its district, while another would allow a board to establish a nearly tax-free retail Renaissance Zone in underdeveloped sections of its boundary. The hows and whens of these possible amendments to Public Act 197, which became law in 1975, remain cloudy, but the whys are clear: to bring retailers downtown."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Although the article says "lights out", it doesn't sound like that's the case at all. In fact, it sounds like Eric Pratt and Jay Fowler are rewriting a policy on vendors to keep them downtown, and in a fixed location (if they want):

http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/ligh...ht_vendors.html

GRAND RAPIDS -- Jacob Knight says he and his partner have built a booming late-night business by selling hot dogs and tacos to downtown's bar and concert crowds.

They're hoping a city ordinance in the works won't put an end to their seven "Walking Wiener" carts.

...Fowler and Pratt recently unveiled a set of proposed rules that would allow the vendors to operate until 2:30 a.m. from fixed carts or kiosks in designated areas around downtown and along Bridge Street.

The rules also would prevent the vendors from setting up within 100 feet of a restaurant or storefront that sells the same type of food.

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Although the article says "lights out", it doesn't sound like that's the case at all. In fact, it sounds like Eric Pratt and Jay Fowler are rewriting a policy on vendors to keep them downtown, and in a fixed location (if they want):

http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/11/ligh...ht_vendors.html

Elsewhere on line is this title:

Changing rules could hurt night vendors which is equally misleading.

The present ordinance requires that street vendors be mobile, i.e. moving their carts. (I've heard that Coney Girl rocks her cart so that it's "moving.")

The proposed rules, as stated in the piece, eliminate that requirement.

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