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GRDadof3

The State of Downtown Grand Rapids Retail

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Would you look at this.

(DISCLAIMER: unlike most of my DT banner pics, these are unretouched photos. I resized them, did not paste anything new & different atop the poles.)

ddaban-1.jpg

Jay Fowler told me an entertaining story about how Streets vetoed the banner-hangers using the hose-clamped lower hangers due to possible wind load caused by the "sails"...so they found some nice bungie cords.

Don't see any decorations on the sunny side of the street...I'm sure those are on order.

Awesome! I've also noticed new banners for shows at Devos Place on Ottawa Ave (as you come into downtown going past Calder Plaza).

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You know, the first time I saw those Andy Warhol banners there, the first thing I thought of was Veloise's touched-up photos. =p

Perhaps we need to do more photoshopping of the blank wall of the police station ;D

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Anyone else going to the GR Young Professionals Lunch Roundtable? It's late notice, I know, but if you're in the area and are interested, it's $10 and you can pay at the door!

Is this the person with whom the DRTF met before? I'm interested to hear her.

GRYP Lunch Roundtable

Please join us for the March Lunch Roundtable on Thursday, March 20 at Louis Benton. We are pleased to have as our guest speaker Janet Korn, VP of Marketing for the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Janet will be speaking about "How Downtown Grand Rapids Plays a Key Marketing Role in Telling the Destination Story."

Janet has 13 years of experience working with the CVB. In her role she leads the marketing efforts of Grand Rapids and Michigan's West Coast as a premier destination for meetings and tourism. Janet also serves the community as co-chair of the Downtown Alliance marketing committee and in the past served on the marketing committee for the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. She will share a broad overview of the three elements used to market Grand Rapids externally then drill down and show how Grand Rapids and specifically, the downtown area, is being marketed internally. Come and learn what the future of Grand Rapids Downtown development and marketing holds!

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...Is this the person with whom the DRTF met before? I'm interested to hear her.

... We are pleased to have as our guest speaker Janet Korn, VP of Marketing for the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau. ...

No, she is not.

(Fresh meat!)

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Police station mural thread (and photoshopping) here:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/Mural-Id...p;hl=grpd+mural

Perhaps the GRPD could commission an ArtWorks piece from the UICA program. :)

From an email I got today:

"COMMISSION A GROUP OF LOCAL YOUTH TO ENRICH YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGH ART

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 19, 2008

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Gosh, I don't go DT for a couple weeks, and all kinds of things happen. There is a pair of DDA-type banners on the lightposts out front of the GRPD big blank wall. Logo is for GVSU. (Design by Times New Roman open a document and type in it.)

Photo TK, as we used to say in the publications biz.

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Kid-created anti-smoking signs are in the windows there. Ironically, I saw a bunch of people gathered around smoking outside that space last time I went by.

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Sometimes I wonder whether these ideas are being picked up from us (hopefully), or if there is just a growing concerted effort by downtown stakeholders to raise the bar a lot higher. Either way, it's great to see.

There's also a big article in the Business Journal today again talking about the Convention and Arena Authority looking to fill the streets with entertainers, jugglers, musicians, etc. in the Summer months when the arena is slow but the convention center is booked. The CAA says with the arena empty in the Summer, it makes downtown feel a little too quiet for conventioneers.

They are also talking pretty seriously about the new amphitheater in Millennium Park, including some CAA funding options (in addition to private funding).

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Sometimes I wonder whether these ideas are being picked up from us (hopefully), or if there is just a growing concerted effort by downtown stakeholders to raise the bar a lot higher. Either way, it's great to see.

Where else would they be getting the ideas?

There's also a big article in the Business Journal today again talking about the Convention and Arena Authority looking to fill the streets with entertainers, jugglers, musicians, etc. in the Summer months when the arena is slow but the convention center is booked. The CAA says with the arena empty in the Summer, it makes downtown feel a little too quiet for conventioneers....

So they need someone to coordinate talent and book the slots.

Windsor (Ont.) has an annual busker's festival, and if memory serves, Holland does the same every Thursday evening in the summer.

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Yes, I just received word that a coffee shop called MadCap will be opening up. Here's what they submitted as their GRNow listing: http://www.grnow.com/index.php?option=com_...mp;link_id=3710

They hope to open in October.

Cool! It's about time something opened at that corner. Is this where all the former Four Friends customers will migrate to?

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Good luck MadCap! (Still looking for an ice cream place downtown).

An ice cream shop would be nice downtown! I am thankful for the two options I have down the street: The Parlor and Sweet Connections :)

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An ice cream shop would be nice downtown! I am thankful for the two options I have down the street: The Parlor and Sweet Connections :)

Especially because Four Friends had delicious gelato that is now gone. :(

So, MadCap will open right near Local Mocha, and a new coffee shop will open where Four Friends was located? Is there no limit on the amount of coffee shops we have in a two-block radius? Off the top of my head, I can think of West Coast Coffee, Bite, Beaners, Starbucks, MadCap, and the Four Friends replacement.

I like coffee shops (especially if they are open on Sunday!), but there are like 100 other uses for the Monroe Center storefront vacancies (e.g. CVS, clothing store, video rental, music store, etc.), why won

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Especially because Four Friends had delicious gelato that is now gone. :(

So, MadCap will open right near Local Mocha, and a new coffee shop will open where Four Friends was located? Is there no limit on the amount of coffee shops we have in a two-block radius? Off the top of my head, I can think of West Coast Coffee, Bite, Beaners, Starbucks, MadCap, and the Four Friends replacement.

I like coffee shops (especially if they are open on Sunday!), but there are like 100 other uses for the Monroe Center storefront vacancies (e.g. CVS, clothing store, video rental, music store, etc.), why won't any other entrepreneurs enter the downtown market? I assume it's pricey and only certain uses work with certain storefronts, but still. . . if the market conditions are not making downtown a destination spot, are there incentives the city can provide that will help with this?

Well Parhelion, I do have to say you're right. Coffee shops tend to continually pop up all over the place. I think you'll see that once we're established we will slow that trend. MadCap will be serving and presenting coffee in a way that few in Grand Rapids, or Western Michigan for that matter, have seen. We're really passionate about coffee. We're passionate about who's growing the coffee, how they're processing it, and what they are being paid for it. We're determined to present that coffee in a way that shows the utmost respect for those that have worked so hard to produce it for us. Lastly, we're determined to open the eyes of all who try our coffee to the wonderful nuances and character that coffee has to offer. For us coffee is not consumed as a means to getting a buzz but an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful citrus notes of a good Kenyan coffee or the sweet blueberry notes of a great Ethiopian. A cappuccino is not a 20oz drink with foam so thick you wonder where the coffee is at but a 6oz drink with foam as smooth as silk and with the perfect blend of milk and espresso that tastes of chocolate and berries. With all that being said, I hope we aren't catagorized as just another coffee shop.

Oh, and Parhelion, keep your eyes open for that ice cream. :thumbsup:

Edited by tjorlet

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That reminds me of the Good Eats episode on Coffee. I believe it was titled, True Brew III. I love Alton Brown :) BTW I do think that over time that once a few known businesses get moving more diversity will follow up. Its a matter of getting a group of consumers that will always be there and then other people will see who is visiting and setup a business that could serve those people. Coffee shops are something that will get the movement started.

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Hate to start a new thread when this one will do.

New state laws that allow local downtown development authorities broad powers to revitalize their communities to attract businesses and residents have been signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20080.../498367082/1069

We've got highlights. The new laws will:

-- Allow DDAs to operate retail business incubators and to offer loan programs for improvements to existing buildings.

-- Require the Natural Resources Trust Fund board to give funding priorities to trails that intersect downtowns.

-- Give local governments more leeway in exempting personal-property taxes on distressed property to encourage redevelopment of rundown sites in downtowns.

GR already has an active and effective DDA, so it'll be interesting to see what impact this has. Still pending is the river trail that would connect to the one in Riverside Park.

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DDA flags and flowers in beautiful DT Evart (dulcimer fun-fest, Ice Mountain, significant rail-trail):

pict0040.jpg

The former freight depot is now a visitors' center for the trail, along with city hall.

pict0024.jpg

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Ah, no to the clover. I lost all hope in the Clover when the big green monster bought them out a few months back. :angry:

Don't get me wrong I still love a good cup of clover coffee, I had a clover cup of Tanzanian from Intelly last week actually. But I believe it was Dwayne from Stumptown Coffee that said, "I have yet to start giving my money to Starbucks and I'm not going to start now."

However, we are planning on doing all french press, no drip. We've been working/toying with this idea for a while and have talked to a few others that do it. Including Stumptown out in Portland. We're going to brew french press and filter the presses into airpots for dispensing. Sounds like a lot of work I know but we feel it will definitely be worth it from a flavor quality standpoint. I'm really excited about it actually. I just finished cupping some of the coffees we're going to be offering and they are stellar. Can't wait to share them with you all.

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