In some cases, change is a good thing. In other cases, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Elliott's Newsstand, which had existed in downtown Grand Rapids for 105 years, is making a comeback, despite being forced to close nearly a year ago due to renovations being done to the office building it occupied at 50 Monroe Place.
The newsstand has now officially reopened in the first-floor lobby of the historic McKay Tower. Ironically, that's where Elliott's Newsstand originated in 1912.
"We're excited to be back in business," said Bill Bennett, owner of Elliott's Newsstand since 1973. "I was toying with the idea of retiring, but I miss the people downtown and still believe there's a need for our services."
Elliott's occupies a 700-square-foot space, which also contains an original National Bank vault. National Bank was McKay Tower's first tenant.
"We were given notice this past January that we had to leave our last location on Monroe Ave. -- where we had been a fixture for 44 years," added Bennett. "A few months later, I was contacted by McKay Tower and they said they had some space they wanted me to see, and if I was interested, they'd like to reopen Elliott's there.
"It didn't take me long to forget about my retirement, and decide to bring Elliott's back in business."
Elliott's founder, Don Elliott, operated the newsstand outside McKay Tower over a century ago. Bill Bennett's father, also named Don, purchased the newsstand from Elliott in 1973. The younger Bennett bought out his father in the mid-1980s and ran the business until it closed in January 2017.
"It's progress," said Bennett. "Downtown Grand Rapids has been undergoing progress forever. Every location we've come from has been a reconstruction project."
Before Elliott's moved to the 50 Monroe location in 1973, it was in a now-demolished building where Rosa Parks Circle currently sits. Before that, it was located at the former Greyhound Bus terminal (now the site of Plaza Towers).
Elliott's was one of the last remaining true newsstands in all of West Michigan. While many believe an old fashioned newsstand is part of a dying era, Bennett believes there are still people out there who like to feel a newspaper or a magazine in their hand.
"There's still a generation out there who like reading newspapers," added Bennett. "It's not as good as it used to be, but I know it's still there, and I think Elliott's will be something that's welcomed back in downtown Grand Rapids."
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