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Grand Rapids' downtown business district attracts 14 new retail shops

Grand Rapids' Downtown Development Authority reports that 14 new businesses have set up shop in the city's downtown in the last eight months. A strategy to market the downtown to even more businesses, citing its 30,000 workers and college students as potential customers, is underway.

According to excerpts from the story:

Despite the dismal economy that has been threatening the city for the past 18 months, downtown Grand Rapids seems to be showing slow, steady growth in its retail sector. Anne Marie Bessette, a development specialist with the Downtown Development Authority, recently filed a report that showed 14 new businesses have opened in the sector since September, while seven have closed or moved.

"To have a net growth of seven downtown businesses is great," said Mayor George Heartwell, especially in light of the current economic conditions.

Of the 14 that have opened, six are located on South Division Avenue. Four more have leased storefronts on Monroe Center, downtown's main street. Three of the new businesses replaced ones that closed. Three others to new locations downtown. Two moved outside of the district. And one that relocated, Herkner Jewelers, will be replaced this fall with a new Mexican restaurant, Cinco de Mayo.

Read the complete story here.

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