GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - On an almost unanimous basis, downtown retailers said they were pleased with their locations and would open their stores in the same area, even if they had an alternative. They also said downtown and its surrounding retail areas were in need of more stores and reasons for shoppers to shop with them.
Those comments and a few more were made to Robert Gibbs when he visited with 29 store owners in the district last summer. Other things Gibbs heard from the retailers were that many customers complained about a lack of convenient parking, which has been a gripe for decades, and that few owners would expand their stores if they had an opportunity to do so.
The owner of Gibbs Planning Group in Birmingham, Mich., was hired by the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority to analyze the current retail makeup of the sector and forecast what it could become over the next five years. Gibbs said another 120 to 150 new stores and restaurants could be added to the four sectors he cited as comprising the bulk of downtown's retailing.
The complete version of this story can be found on the Grand Rapids Business Journal's website