PHOTOS: GVSU’s Laker Store opens in downtown GR

Amid a late March snowstorm outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum, a ribbon-cutting ceremony heralded the latest addition to downtown's rebounding retail landscape: Grand Valley State University's new Laker Store on the Monroe Center Mall.

Scene from the GVSU Laker Store ribbon-cutting amidst a snowstorm.

Opening day shopping at the GVSU Laker Store.

Scene from the GVSU Laker Store opening ceremony.

On Friday, March 22, the doors swung open to unveil the Laker Store, which is inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum building at 101 Monroe Center St. NW overlooking Rosa Parks Circle. The event attracted city officials, university trustees and members of the public, including Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella. The GVSU Laker Dance Team and the Louie the Laker mascot brought their spirited energy to the occasion.

"The positive response to the Laker Store on Monroe demonstrates the passion and excitement that is fueling our area's growth," Mantella says on the selection of this location. "This space will be a living, breathing entity that provides learning opportunities in line with GVSU’s place at the heart of building the Grand Rapids of the future.”

Louie the Laker and the GVSU Laker Dance Team welcomed guests to the Laker Store inside the Gand Rapid Art Museum.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella, and Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington celebrate the opening of the downtown Laker Store.
Even alumni showed up to shop on the opening day of the Laker Store on Monroe.
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.'s President and CEO Tim Kelly shows his support for GVSU.

GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella welcomes you to visit the Laker Store.

The store will carry GVSU-branded swag such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles, and alumni-made merchandise in the 1,050-square-foot space that was previously occupied by WOOD-TV 8, next door to the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

GVSU has two other Laker stores, located on its Allendale and Grand Rapids campuses. The store, intended to increase GVSU's visibility in downtown Grand Rapids, began with conversations between Mantella and Bliss about opportunities to share the Laker story with a broader audience.

Kent County Commissioner Tony Baker, State Rep. Carol Glanville (84th House) and GVSU's Vice President & Chief Public Relations and Communications Officer Stacie Behler converse outside the new Laker Store.
A tailgating set-up is on display at the new Laker Store in downtown Grand Rapids.
GVSU Alumni will find something at the new Laker Store on Monroe.

“I’m thrilled to welcome the new Laker Store on Monroe to downtown Grand Rapids,” Bliss says. “Laker pride swells in this city. Grand Valley State University is synonymous with Grand Rapids. GVSU students and alumni across the country help spread the word that Grand Rapids is a great place to earn an education and build a strong foundation for lifelong success.”

The Laker Store on Monroe is open Tuesdays and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photos by Tommy Allen
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.