GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After closing its doors at the end of 2021, a popular downtown Grand Rapids hangout announced Wednesday they will be reopening in September.
In 2020, The Gilmore Collection was actively trying to sell The BOB and after the long process of finding a buyer, The BOB announced in December of 2021 that it was closing its doors for good.
Matt Dowdy, the Marketing Director for The Gilmore Collection, said they were hit hard by COVID, along with many others in the restaurant-hospitality industry.
"We had a lack of outdoor seating areas like some other restaurants have and also staffing was a huge issue at the time, but it was a pretty grave issue in the winter of 2021," said Dowdy.
Dowdy said that the "potential buyer was unable to secure financing," and that's why they decided to keep the building and revamp the space instead. Downtown also appeared to be re-activated over Spring and Summer.
"We've had a real resurgence both with restaurants and retail within the last 6 to 8 weeks," said Rich App, the Retail, Retention and Attraction Specialist for the Grand Rapids Chamber. "We've had about 8 or 9 places downtown open so to have them reopen, it will fill a big void as a space."
Dowdy says that they are hoping to have the renovations complete for a September 8 reopening of The BOB.
The BOB says that it is reopening to the public in the fall with lots of changes to the sprawling four-story building.
The layout of The Big Old Building will be reimagined to include some new features while keeping some of its old favorites.
Two floors of the building will be dedicated to special events and private dining. This new space will be where L3vel and Eve were previously located.
The comedy club, Dr. Grins, will be returning with live entertainment and Bobarino's and HOME are bringing back live music when the building reopens.
BOB's Brewery will also be returning, but with expanded operations that include a new area on the first floor and a beer garden on Ottawa and Fulton.
The BOB also says they will be improving the customer service experience with new technology that simplifies ordering and a switch to 100 percent cashless transactions.
"It definitely was a staple of the community and something folks that were visiting in the area of downtown Grand Rapids really looked forward having being part of their trip," said Erin Murphy, Marketing Director of the West Michigan Tourist Association. "Whether they were stopping by at a concert or show at Van Andel Arena, John Ball Zoo or one of the museums in the area."
The Gilmore Collection, a restaurant group that owns The BOB, is looking to hire servers, customer service representatives, bartenders, culinary staff and management for the September reopening.
They are asking anyone interested in applying to visit www.gilmorejobs.com.
For more information, applicants can also contact Laurie Marvin firstname.lastname@example.org.
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