Tag Archives: Trader Joe

An Anthropologie Study on Grand Rapids Retail Environment

I am somewhat surprised that there isn’t more of a hub-bub surrounding the recent news that Anthropologie, a trendy & popular woman’s apparel, accessories, and home decor retailer, owned by Urban Outfitters is moving to Breton Village in Fall 2011.  The community has always been striving for well known brand names to move into the area, and Grand Rapids is heading in the right direction  look at some of the other current “cool” tenants of Grand Rapids like the Apple Store, and The North Face (which is opening up next weekend in Woodlawn Mall).

Well part of the reason people still do not think Grand Rapids has arrived could be  because we do not have a Trader Joe’s. (though it shouldn’t be) See examples here – read the comments as well 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Not to mention Facebook Groups – by the way Trader Joe fans get your act together and consolidate, no wonder why Trade Joe’s doesn’t want a store here, look at this mess below:

So why is it thought that Grand Rapids still hasn’t arrived yet?  The real reason (my hypothesis) is that these stores are not in downtown Grand Rapids.  They are on the outskirts of town, or in the mall (which in many GR proponent view as evil).  Right now when people talk or brag about Grand Rapids they start with downtown, which basically has everything, except for a strong retail shopping presence.  When people talk about other downtown areas that they are found of retail shopping usually comes up, and more often than not the talk leads to international brand name stores, trendy boutiques, and the like.  Perhaps the DeVos family can kick off this initiative as well, after all Pamela DeVos (wife to Dan) is the designer and president of the Pamella Roland brand of designer womans clothes.

So what do you  all think would these type of stores be better off in downtown Grand Rapids and would they be supported and thrive with consumer spending?  Or is the Grand Rapids downtown just not have enough residents and visitors to support a well known retail store yet?

For my other post on Grand Rapids “arriving” click here.

Update:  So did WOOD TV 8 read my blog and get a story idea – click here for text and video .  Very cool of A.K. Rikk’s to use ArtPrize as an opportunity to explore (and exploit the crowds) the feasibility of opening up one of their stores downtown.  The short term leases sound like a great idea, and a good way for a retailer and the city to find a perfect match.  Why wouldn’t the city and property owners be more open to this concept.

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Grand Rapids on a Pedestal

Finally.

In reading Grand Rapids development news over the years, you always come across Grand Rapids emulating other cities or having Grand Rapids proponents arguing that Grand Rapids needs exactly what XYZ city has.  Or if Grand Rapids gets X then we would be just ABC-ville.

For example:

Exhibit A: Urban Market – Emulating: Columbus-OH, Milwaukee,-WI, San Francisco-CA, Seattle-WA

Exhibit B: Streetcars – Emulating:  Portland-OR

Exhibit CTrader Joes & Whole Foods – Emulating:  Every other community that has one

Exhibit D: Whitewater course for the Grand River – Emulating:  South Bend-IN, Wasua-WI, Petoskey and Chesaning-MI

Exhibit EMonorail – Emulating:  North Haverbrook, Odgenville, and Brockway

Anyway Grand Rapids sheep can now become the shepherd, or the tables have finally been turned.  There is a city in the United States that is benchmarking Grand Rapids, and is actually aspiring to emulate our city.

The city is Cedar Rapids, the second largest city in Iowa, built on the Cedar River.  With a population of 128,000 Cedar Rapids is an economic hub in Iowa.  The cities have a lot of similarities besides the whole “Rapids” thing, and based on this story in the Gazette Online, Cedar Rapids aspire to have a medical district like the Medical Mile on Michigan Street that Grand Rapids developed.  I found it fascinating to see Grand Rapids actually being bench marked for a change and not the opposite.  So slow down Grand Rapids take a breath, and enjoy the view from the pedestal.  Oh and thanks for the compliment Cedar Rapids you’re making us blush.

Be sure to read the whole story here.

Any of you readers have more examples of Grand Rapids being bench marked by other communities (maybe with ArtPrize)?