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Grand Rapids icon The B.O.B. reopens

After eight months, the Big Old Building has finally reopened, with a return of its varying levels as well as the city's first self-serving beer wall.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After an estimated eight months, a historic building in downtown Grand Rapids opened their doors Thursday afternoon.

The B.O.B., also known as the Big Old Building, welcomed a steady stream of bargoers. One of the facility's newest features: A cashless, self-serving beer wall.

The facility closed in late 2021 after the facility was expected to be purchased.

"There was a potential buyer, (but) they were unable to secure funding," said Matt Dowdy, the Gilmore Collection's marketing and creative director. "So, we decided that we're going to keep it and try reopening it."

The B.O.B. is set to be open from Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., but it will be temporarily changed to seven days a week for ArtPrize, which begins Sept. 15.

"We're going to have a ton of live entertainment," Dowdy said. "We think that The B.O.B. is a well-established brand in town as far as entertainment, food and hospitality."

The facility's third and fourth floors will be a dedicated space for weddings and corporate events, Dowdy said, later adding that the reopening comes at The B.O.B.'s 25th anniversary.

Food from a nearby food truck is available, but The B.O.B. is set to reopen many of their kitchens within a few weeks.

To long-term patrons like Kameron Higgins of Grand Rapids, the return is nothing but welcomed.

“It gives you so many different areas within one place to be able to have a good time," she said. "You can socialize, you can party, you can relax, you can play games – like the basement is amazing.”

The reopening was made possible with the help of anywhere from 80 to 100 employees, Dowdy estimated, which brought both old and new workers to the facility.

“It’s amazing, I love The B.O.B.," said manager Juel Hudson, who has worked for the company for six years. "This is where I started from – this has always been home. We have a lot of familiar faces that came back so it’s nice – we’re all back together.”

The B.O.B. is still looking for employees. Those interested can apply here.

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