Clark Communications, Media Place Partners join growing community on Grand Rapids' S. Division

Inside the new digs of Clark Communications and Media Place Partners, warm-hued woods, aged brick walls and natural daylight streaming through glass curtain walls greet visitors. An old industrial wood and metal staircase leads from 131 S. Division Ave. (Grand Rapids) down to the lower level space, where the rear entry opens to a lobby facing an alley on the east.

"It's kind of a different set-up," says Clark Communications owner Craig Clark with a smile, motioning to both entries.

Clark and Dave Kettler, owner of Media Place Partners, moved their shops from separate locations on Monroe Center to the 1,900-square-foot space so both firms could have a room for growth and collaboration.

"Media Place Partners continues to grow and I wanted more room to do so," Kettler says. "I see this area as an up-and-coming part of town and found a very nice space here that fits our needs while not breaking the bank."

Between the two firms, eight employees will occupy the space -- three from Clark Communications and five from Media Place Partners. All the furniture is mobile, and some of it does double-duty, like the metal shelves with white-board backs -- the white-board side forms a wall of the conference area, the shelving side forms a storage wall in Clark's office.

"I have felt a real pull to the Heartside neighborhood," Clark says. "I've always enjoyed the eclectic, creative, collaborative energy. I also have a heart for the Heartside individuals we see walking up and down the street. I see the struggle on their faces. Behind that, there are real people."

Clark plans to foster his desire to help others by contributing 10 percent of Clark Communications' revenue to nearby nonprofits Mel Trotter Ministries, Degagé Ministries, Heartside Ministry and Guiding Light Mission to help individuals who have, or who want to, start their own businesses.

"For example, Guiding Light has men going in and out of there. Some are ready to reemerge. Do they have an entrepreneurial spirit, can we help them with that?" Clark says. "Right now, we're trying to identify those people and develop relationships and see what comes from that."

Source: Craig Clark, Clark Communications; Dave Kettler, Media Place Partners
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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