GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - There are less than 24 hours in ArtPrize 2013 which means come Monday the city will look and feel much different.
Most of the street vendors and performers that have become staples along streets like Monroe Center will pack up their carts at the end of the day Sunday.
Tyler Essenberg and his business partner own and run the company g-raps, a company which makes custom eyeglass accessories.
The company became a reality after being awarded money from Start Garden, a Rick DeVos venture.
"We actually started with a piece scotch tape and a piece of paper April of 2012. We had no idea how we were going to manufacture this, market it. So in about 16 months we're able to take a piece of tape and paper to a product we have sold tens of thousands of," said Essenberg..
Now the company is using another Rick DeVos brain child to make some extra money.
"We incorporated our brand g-raps and did a line of clothing and merchandise to kind of capitalize off all the excitement, all people being downtown," Essenberg said.
The company got started first with a $5,000 award from Start Garden. Start Garden would later give the company $20,000 more.
"With Start Garden they don't just give you capital to invest in your business cash. They also give your the social capital the exposure. And they also give you the connections which has been the most important thing for us," said Essenberg.
Being the entrepreneurs they are, Essenberg and his business partner saw ArtPrize and knew by expanding what they sold, they added shirts, cups, and car decals, among other items, to what they sold.
Essenberg said in the future they may continue to make the extra merchandise and add it to its website.
Essenberg said business is good and growing.
"We're making money. For the fourth quarter we're projecting to be in 300 stores nationally," said Essenberg.
Essenberg said they have also have help from a business angel, which is an investor that also helps with making connections with business.
Essenberg said they have a license from the city for a year to operate their cart so you will most likely see them at other big events downtown.
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