GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The first two of 24 vendors have been announced for the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, which is scheduled to open this summer.
- Simpatico Coffee -- a micro-roaster based in Holland
- Founder Alex Fink is also the owner of The Nines Gallery in Holland
- Love's Ice Cream -- an all-new, handmade ice cream company
- Creator Chris McKeller is a local entrepreneur, former owner of an Internet commerce developer, and founder of Grand Rapids Cooking School
The Downtown Market will be $30 million, 138,000-square-foot, self-sustaining, LEED-certified, mixed-use facility that brings together production, distribution, marketing and education about local foods and growing. It will incorporate entrepreneur and experimentation space for both emerging and experienced food artisans and merchants including a 24-vendor Market Hall, large outdoor farmers market and two full-service restaurants, one of which will be a micro-brewery.
Organizers expect construction on the indoor hall of the market, located on Ionia Avenue SW near the Wealthy Street/U.S. 131 overpass, to be completed by July. Before The Market Hall opens, the outdoor Farmers Market will open in May.
"We are only 18 months old, but we are excited to expand Simpatico Coffee into downtown Grand Rapids," Fink said in a news release. "We want to make coffee a fun experience, show people where the beans come from, how coffee is roasted and just how fresh coffee can be."
Founded in 2011, Simpatico Coffee is a single-origin roaster, sourcing its fair-trade beans from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. To date, the company has sold its beans at local coffee shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and from its Holland production facility. Grand Rapids will be the company's second retail location.
"Having the chance to meticulously craft food and know that I'm satisfying people on a deeper level drove me to invest in the Downtown Market," said McKeller. "I am a bit obsessed with ingredients, and the Market allows me to share my whole food perspective around organic, local, and quality with others like me."
For the last year, construction crews have been raising the market's walls. Behind the scenes, Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the market, has been organizing the business side of things.
"We can finally let everybody know some of the work that we've been doing for the last year," she told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday.
"The Downtown Market is all about local artisans, building community and incubating new ideas, and we are thrilled to bring two local entrepreneurs as the first members of our Market Hall," Fritz added in a news release. "West Michigan is a unique place because it has so many people who want to innovate our food culture, and we are excited to bring them together at the Downtown Market."
Vehicles occupied by a sheriff's deputy and a Michigan State Police motor carrier officer were hit.
A fire damaged three garages and some homes in a Grand Haven neighborhood early Thursday morning.
The suspects stole cash and fled the scene.