GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Citing rising costs, drained bank accounts and a labor force spread thin, some local businesses and restaurants shuttered their doors this year. Others cited retirements and new opportunities.
Here are 22 West Michigan businesses we said goodbye to in 2022:
Closed: Jan. 1
More than three decades after the family-owned restaurant started serving Kentwood, Shanghai Ichiban closed on New Years Day due to the staffing shortage. A sign on its door said it would open two months later.
On May 10, it announced it was closed for good.
“Thank you so much all for your support over the years!” the Yang family wrote on Facebook. “While we will miss our customers and employees, we will always remember the amazing memories made and the patronage from the local community and those who traveled from afar.”
Closed: Jan. 16, May 15
Both Elk Brewing locations shut their doors in 2022. Its Comstock Park location, which had an all-female brewing team that brewed suds like Tina’s Raspberry Chocolate Milk Stout and the Fire Starter IPA, closed near the beginning of the year, with its last day open on Jan. 16.
Five months later, on May 15, the Wealthy Street location in Grand Rapids followed suit.
“Our Herd could not have been more blessed to be a part of such a wonderful city, our patrons mean the world to us and we are devastated that under the circumstances we will no longer be able to serve our community delicious brews,” Elk Brewing said in a Facebook post.
BRICK ROAD PIZZA CO.
Closed: Jan. 30
A business built on ‘blood, sweat and tears’ shuttered its doors on Jan. 30, 13 years after Brick Road Pizza Co. opened in Grand Rapids.
“We literally built a restaurant from nothing. Our blood, sweat, & tears went into it. As we learned, nothing about the industry is easy,” a Facebook post announcing its closure said.
The pandemic took its toll on the family-owned restaurant as it was forced to move to takeout only and then reopened with COVID-19 restrictions. Customers dwindled and, like many West Michigan restaurants, it struggled to find enough help.
“As much as we’d like to hang on, emotionally and financially we’re spent,” the Facebook post reads. “We are heartbroken, to say the least.”
ALI NICOLE BRIDAL
Closed: Feb. 26
Ali Nicole Bridal, a shop in downtown Grand Rapids, closed its doors on Feb. 26. It had been open for five years.
“Pretty soon the walls will be painted over, the dresses taken down and my name scratched off the windows,” Ali Nicole Bridal wrote in a Feb. 26 Facebook post. “Even though the memory of ANB will slowly fade from this place, I will hold the special moments I’ve had with my brides forever. This store would have been nothing without the support of my family and friends and the wonderful wedding community.”
After the bridal shop left, Gazelle Sports moved into the spot at 52 Monroe Center.
THE FISH MONGER’S WIFE
Closed: April 9
A family-owned commercial fishery announced it would be closing more than a decade after it started up.
The Fish Monger’s Wife first started in June of 2010 at the Muskegon Farmers Market, according to its website. It survived declining fish populations and sold fresh caught smoked whitefish, along with other fresh fish shipped from elsewhere.
But in the spring of 2022, it announced it would be closing on April 9.
“The last two years has emptied our checking account(s) and drained us of the ‘reboot’ energy we’d need to keep The Fish Monger’s Wife going,” a note on its website from Amber Mae Petersen and her husband, Eric Petersen, says.
It cited changes in the fishing industry, saying it would need more resources to survive.
According to its website, Eric continued commercial fishing, but only to sell to wholesale fish dealers.
GRAND TRAVERSE PIE COMPANY
Closed: April 14
On April 14, a car crashed into the Grand Traverse Pie Company location on 28th Street in Kentwood.
Three people were injured, including at least one person who was inside the restaurant at the time. Police said the driver had crashed on 28th Street, then went into the parking lot and crashed through the front window.
An employee said the driver told her she was trying to get to a safe location after the first crash but hit the gas instead of brake.
The owners had said the restaurant would eventually be reopened, but announced on Sept. 30 that it was closed for good.
“While you, the customer, helped us to have a thriving business over the past 15 years, unforeseen circumstances have resulted in the unexpected closing of our business,” it said in a Facebook post. “We absolutely trust that this is God’s will and look forward to the next chapter.”
TILLIE RUTH’S COFFEE & TEA
Closed: April 30
The coffee shop inside Bridge Street Market, Tillie Ruth’s Coffee & Tea, stopped brewing on April 30. It was replaced by Ferris Coffee & Nut Co.
Tillie Ruth’s Coffee & Tea had opened inside the West Side grocery store in August 2020. The owner, Mary Rose, had also co-owned the spot when it was a Mayan Buzz location.
“All good things come to an end and it is with a heavy heart that I announce the end of this journey,” the owner wrote in a Facebook post. “We are so grateful for the team at Bridge Street Market for their support and comradery. We are proud to have been part of this community and have the opportunity to serve and get to know you over the past couple of years. We will miss your friendly faces!”
The marketing manager for Bridge Street Market told News 8 Rose had opted to not renew her lease in order to move onto something different.
Closed: April 31
Fast-rising food prices forced Roberto’s Pizzeria on Plainfield Avenue in Grand Rapids to shut its doors in April, about a year and a half after it first started serving customers.
“I held on six months longer than I should’ve,” Dal Begerow, the owner, told News 8. “I was hoping we would see some type of decrease in our food products, and we just haven’t.”
He said the price of flour had risen from around $13 a bag pre-pandemic to $28 a bag, ground beef had tripled in price and pork products were “80% to 100% more expensive than they were.”
A second Roberto’s Pizzeria location is still open in Wyoming.
“When you take your life savings and pour your heart and soul and finances into this business and then you lose it, where do you go from there?” Begerow said. “How do you start over? For those who pour everything into one location and swing for the fences and lose it, it’s miserable.”
Closed: Late May
A pizzeria in Walker — also facing high food prices and a staffing shortage — shut its doors in late May, a little over a year after Rico Nelson took over Franco’s Pizzeria.
He told News 8 he needed four employees to run the pizza spot, but often only had two. Friends stepped in to help.
“Old friends come around to help me out,” Nelson said. “Guys that got full-time jobs. They’re just coming in. They’re just loyal.”
Along with other rising food prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine increased the price of flour.
“I never knew flour came from Ukraine and Russia,” he told News 8. “I didn’t really know that. I just knew that we ordered flour. And now that’s gone up to 30 bucks where it was 22.”
Nelson said he hoped to eventually reopen.
WIKIWIKI POKE SHOP
Closed: May 30
Wikiwiki Poke Shop owner Keith Allard told News 8 he made the decision to call it over concerns supply chain issues could reduce the quality of what he was giving customers.
“I’m really scared to operate a business in the environment going forward. That’s my number one reason (for closing),” he said.
The restaurant opened on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids in December of 2017. During the pandemic, while operating as takeout only, Allard offered free kid bowls to students.
Wikiwiki Poke Shop remained takeout only after restrictions were lifted. Allard continued to deal with other issues, like rising food costs and delivery platforms like DoorDash and Grubhub forcing restaurants onto their platforms.
“THANK YOU Grand Rapids for supporting this dream for five wild years,” Allard wrote in a Facebook post the day after he shut the place down for good. “May the record reflect that I kept my knives sharp, never cut corners, stayed in the kitchen, and always put the food first.”
THE SANGRIA SHOP
Closed: June 24
The Sangria Shop shut down after almost 10 years this summer. It announced in April it would be shutting down, citing the pandemic.
“Do not get me wrong, when this started a lot of people came to support us and many other small businesses. But let’s face it, how can you support a local business when they are cutting down your hours or you were just let go? There were reports of alcohol sales skyrocketing but that was for big companies, not us,” co-owner Fernando Costas told News 8 after the announcement.
The Portage store described itself as “A Sangria with a Puerto Rican touch.”
“Our thanks to all of you … our Sangria Shop friends for being with us during these 10+ years of adventure bringing a little piece of our island to you,” it said in a Facebook post on June 24, the last day it was open.
Closed: July 31
Built in 1952, The DeltaPlex Arena & Conference Center was sold to the Visser Brothers for $5.5 million, county and state records show. Its last day open was July 31.
The arena was mandated to close for more than 16 months during the pandemic, which “created an extraordinary hardship,” DeltaPlex President Joel Langlois said in a memo announcing the closure.
“There’s been a lot of neat things that have happened over the years so we’re excited for that next evolution, whatever that may be,” Walker Mayor Gary Carey said of the closure. “It’s a little bittersweet because … if it doesn’t stay an event venue obviously that is going to have to go elsewhere in the community. The good news is that we have a lot of capacity in the area and the region to be able to do that.”
Visser Brothers, Inc. is working on redeveloping the property into an industrial warehouse. Nonprofit Santa Claus Girls, which has been giving Christmas gifts to kids in need since 1908, has signed a five-year lease for space inside the building.
Grand Rapids Gold, the NBA G-League basketball team that used to play at The DeltaPlex, now plays at Van Andel Arena.
Closed: July 22
The owner of Mayan Buzz in Grand Rapids was accused of not paying rent for more than 20 months. The cafe’s owner, Marco Bulnes, announced the coffee shop would shut down on July 22.
“I mean, it’s been a great eight years or so at the downtown Grand Rapids location with Mayan Buzz Café. Unfortunately though, at the same time just as new life comes along … and the changes that happen in our lives and our environment and everything else, it has become too expensive for us to be there,” Bulnes said in a Facebook Live video that now appears to be removed.
The property had been sold to BBG Corporation, which told News 8 the rent had not increased.
“During the 3 months of my ownership of the building, Marco has not paid any rent – just like the prior 18 or so months with the prior owner,” BBG Corporation President Brian Gardner stated in an email to News 8 in July.
Bulnes also blamed the pandemic. In one Facebook Live post, he said an employee had complained about not getting paid, but Bulnes said that got taken care of.
Other Mayan Buzz locations remain open.
TASTE OF CAIRO
Closed: Aug. 24
“We threw in the towel,” co-owner Dale Erdman told News 8. “In August, after paying rent and paying the last payroll, that was it, that was over. We had nothing.”
Dale Erdman and his wife Riham Erdman said staffing was one of its biggest obstacles: One person they hired never showed for his first day.
The couple also said the Grand Rapids community was not responsive enough to a place that didn’t serve meat or alcohol.
“We are vegan and vegetarian and we are Middle Eastern and we are Muslims, so we are not providing alcohol. And many people in this area were depending on a bar theme and alcohol, and many people would expect us to be having steak or shawarma and we are not providing those items,” Riham Erdman said.
The couple’s original restaurant, Egyptian Koshery, is still open in Midland.
BOMBAY CUISINE, EAST WEST BREWING CO.
Closed: Oct. 2
More than two decades after it opened, Bombay Cuisine, along with the connected East West Brewing Co., closed in October.
“The decision to close down was not an easy one but, due to the owners retirement, it is necessary,” it said.
The Indian cuisine restaurant had been open in Grand Rapids’ Eastown for 25 years. The restaurant thanked its customers for their patronage.
Closed: Oct. 3
A brewing company in Grand Rapids shut down its West Side location this fall because it had outgrown it. Harmony Brewing Company’s Harmony Hall, located near Bridge Street, closed on Oct. 3, seven years after it opened.
Harmony Brewing Company moved its brewing operations to a new facility.
“We have truly grown to love our Hall of Halls, for it is both Majestic and Glorious. However, it simply is not suitable for large scale production, so we had to make the difficult choice to move,” a Facebook post announcing the closure said. “We thank you for your continued support as we grow and expand Harmony Brewing Company!”
The company’s location in Eastown is still open.
Closed: Oct. 10
The last West Michigan Golden Corral Buffet & Grill closed in October. The Walker location had been open for 12 years.
The building, located at 3461 Alpine Ave. NW between I-96 and Four Mile Road, is set to be demolished. A Chick-Fil-A will take its place. Plans for the new fast food location include an outdoor patio that will seat up to 28 customers.
According to its website, there are still five Golden Corral locations currently operating in Michigan, all on the east side of the state.
GRAND VALLEY MARINE
Closed: Nov. 11
Grand Valley Marine first opened its doors in 1964 on 28th Street in Grandville. The boat dealer soon opened locations across the state, including in Muskegon, Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. In the 1980s it shut down many of those locations, keeping only two open, according to its website.
This fall, it announced it was closing its original location, with its last day on Nov. 11. It auctioned off its inventory and transferred its employees to its last remaining location in Alden. The Alden location will be remodeled and reopened in the spring of 2023.
“We would like to thank West Michigan for the almost 60 years of support at the Grandville (location),” its website says.
AMBIANCE GR KITCHEN AND LOUNGE
“The profound truth is that the business climate and the persistent safety issues that have increased all over downtown, in an unprecedented way, has caused us to reexamine our hefty ongoing investment in this establishment,” the nightclub said in a Facebook post.
It said there was “unwanted loitering and elements that galvanized on public streets and sidewalks.”
The nightclub also cited the Grand Rapids riot — which happened in May of 2020, before it opened — and the pandemic.
Closed: Nov. 9
Royals had a bumpy year on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids.
“The past 2.5 years have been a struggle. With our grand opening falling on the same day we were mandated to close (due to COVID), we had quite the rocky start,” All In Hospitality Group LLC, which owned Royals, said in the announcement. “We limped through the pandemic, only to fall victim to a massive hospitality employee shortage, supply chain issues, and rising costs on everything restaurant related.”
All In Hospitality Group LLC, also owns Donkey, Hancock and Winchester.
Closed: Nov. 18
A staffing shortage forced Osgood Brewing in Grandville to close in September. Co-owner Ronald Denning told News 8 that getting enough staffing had been a challenge over the last couple years, but 2022 “has easily been the most difficult.”
On weekend nights when the brewery needed around six servers working, it often had just one, Denning said.
“Those that have never worked in the industry don’t realize how difficult of a job it is for staff, and how they have to deal with so many issues, often times it not being their fault,” he said.
Osgood Brewing shut the restaurant portion down on Sept. 2. The bar stayed open until Nov. 18, about nine years after it first started serving customers.
“As our business leaves downtown Grandville, I ask each of you to please show your support to each of the family owned local businesses that are in your community,” Denning said in a Nov. 18 Facebook post, accompanied by a video of him turned off the ‘open’ sign for the last time. “They are real people who look to you for support.”
Closed: Dec. 23
The Grand Rapids area lost a family orchard this year that had been open for more than a century. Moelker Orchards opened up in Tallmadge Township in 1907, and was run by the Moelker family for 115 years. The family orchard grew apples, cherries, peaches, pears and plums.
In December, the family announced that Tom and Bonnie Moelker, the orchard’s owners, would be retiring. Moelker Orchards, along with Our Market and Old Bell Bakery, closed on Dec. 23.
“(Tom and Bonnie Moelker) are excited about their future and what God has in store for them in this new phase of life!” a note on its website says. “We truly value the many relationships that we have made over the years and we have so many wonderful memories to treasure!”
The farm will be put up for sale in 2023, Moelker Orchards said.