In my recent post about well known stores & brands taking up shop in Grand Rapids like Anthropologie, The North Face, Apple Store, I made the following comment regarding a question about the trend of supporting local businesses:
“Thanks Wendy. I broadly define the local population of GR into the following two areas a) social activists, proponents of GR, and local first types b) everyone else. Everyone else consume based on familiarity, and convenience. So whereas you hear about all the good thing the type A population is doing, most consumers probably fall into type B, where it would be nice to drive an extra 20 mins to go to local store, then another 15 mins to go to local store B, but if I go to Big Chain I can just do all my shopping at once.
Plus big brands are identifiable. You can be reasonably assured that no matter who you talk to they have heard of GAP, H&M, and Nike. When you talk about the major shopping areas like the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, almost all the stores are either designer luxury brand stores, or well known national stores with multiple locations. That is what people talk about and that is what really gets the general populace excited.
Of course Grand Rapids will probably never get the wide range of stores that are featured in the key retail shopping districts in Chicago and New York, but I think that they can get a good mix of a couple of national brand stores to rally the masses, and then sprinkle in with a lot of smaller local retailers to fill in the gaps and help feed off the energy and masses that the national brand stores bring in.
But then again I have had no experience in urban design or economic development. I just call it like I see it.”
Well I think the recent news of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro coming to Grand Rapids (East Beltline & Knapp) illustrates my above comment perfectly. WZZM tweeted about this on November 18th. To show the excitement news about P.F. Chang’s in Grand Rapids, this news was tweeted and retweeted by about 23 different people (5 here , 6 here, 3 here, 4 here, another 5 here,). Mostly with comments like Yum, and Yummy.
I could only find one negative tweet by CreativeIncite who stated the following: “Not excited about PF Chang’s coming to #gr – why would I be excited about another non-unique nat’l chain? Blah. #anywhereUSA”
I am surprised that there was not more of the negative backlash against this especially on twitter, which seems to have quite a high percentage of local-philes (my new name for Proponents of their city, region etc.).