GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kingma’s Market has reopened after its expansion in the growing Creston Neighborhood.
The market, which opened in Grand Rapids around 80 years ago, decided to expand as it has been “overly cozy for a while,” owner Alan Hartline said. So crews knocked down a wall.
The $500,000 expansion and renovation at Kingma’s Market on Plainfield Avenue near Marywood Drive included a new decadent dessert case, an expanded deli, an expanded produce department, a new checkout lane and new non-food items.
Hartline said it’s an exciting time for the market as it works to meet what customers are looking for in an evolving community. As it celebrated its grand reopening this week, he said customers have been appreciative.
“We’re a community store that people just love and we’re fortunate for that. So I think … it’s bigger and better now and they’re excited that we continue to invest in the community and be a big part of it,” Hartline said.
He described the store as hyper-local with a focus on local flavor. It gets a lot of produce delivered straight from the field — some Honeycrisp apples delivered to the store before he spoke with News 8 had been picked just that morning.
“Doesn’t get any fresher than that,” he said.
Shoppers stop by more frequently because Kingma’s is a hyper-local, smaller store, he explained.
“You come in and find out what’s for dinner tonight. You might be back in a couple of days and talk to the butcher again or find some fun stuff in the deli,” he said. “I think people get excited to shop Kingma’s, not agonized: ‘Ah, I’ve got to go grocery shopping,’ so to speak. It’s a different experience.”
Hartline, who has been at the store for about nine years, has worked in the food industry for years.
“(I’m) just so blessed to be part of a great community that’s really embraced the store and the changes and the evolution we’ve made here,” he said. “And we’re not done yet.”
A GROWING CRESTON NEIGHBORHOOD
The expansion of the store comes as its neighborhood grows with it.
“There’s lots of new apartments coming less than a mile from the store, two new significant developments, which is great for Creston and great for the inventory shortage we have in housing here in Creston,” Hartline said. “That’s one of the big reasons why we’re positioning ourselves with all this growth that’s happening, a lot of new business is coming as well as residential and it’s an exciting time to be in the Creston community.”
Gregg Hampshire, the executive director of Creston Neighborhood Association, agrees.
“It’s an exciting time to be on the north end,” he told News 8. “Part of our land use committee, we’ve seen a lot of developers come through trying to build on spots that had previously been earmarked for development but had stalled. So we’re looking at almost 200 units right in the main Plainfield corridor, which is exciting.”
The skyline of the area is changing, Hampshire said. At 1340 Monroe Ave. near Leonard Street, developers are working on a project that will bring more than 500 housing units to the area. Crews will be demolishing a manufacturing facility on the 7.5-acre site, according to Franklin Partners’ website, which bought the property with Avgeris & Associates in 2015.
It will have market-rate studio, one- and two-bedroom units and will offer amenities like a courtyard, a pool and a fitness area.
Work is also underway for a 110-mixed use development on Plainfield Avenue near Grove Street, WOOD TV8 partner Crain’s Grand Rapids Business reports.
While the developments will be bringing market-rate units to the area, Hampshire hopes to see soon see affordable housing as well, adding income diversity leads to a vibrant community.
A new board member recently spoke at a meeting about how as a renter, she had been priced out of the neighborhood for a time. Hampshire said he hopes the developments are a “just the beginning of a housing boom in the Creston neighborhood.”
New businesses are also coming to the area, like Street Chef Shaw, a food truck going into the former Rinaldi’s location at 1539 Plainfield Ave. near Lafayette Avenue. Crain’s reports Good, Good, Good Wine and Flowers, which will offer wine and flowers, is opening at 1590 Plainfield Ave. NE near Sweet Street.
Hampshire said they’re also seeing lots of people show up at events, and their association membership has grown significantly: at their last annual meeting, they reported around 100 new members that had joined over the course of a year.
“We’re overjoyed with the investment that folks have been showing the community and we’re looking forward to the future,” he said.
‘KEEP CRESTON FUNKY’
He credits the growth in part to the community’s character, saying they have the attitude of “keep Creston Funky.”
It’s a very artistic area, he said, with lots of new murals put up thanks to organizations like Lions and Rabbits.
It also has a lot of green spaces, biking trails and is the “home of the third place,” he said.
While some have been resistant to the changes coming to the neighborhood, many have shown enthusiasm, Hampshire said, adding he himself is a ‘YIMBY,’ or “yes in my backyard.”
He encouraged community members who are looking to get involved to join a committee.
“We would love folks to be engaged with us,” he said. “Come along. Lend us your voice and we’ll amplify it.”
The Creston Neighborhood Association will celebrate its 45th anniversary next year, and will be announcing its goals for the area for the next five years.
“My vision for the next five years in Creston is that we’ll see an increase in housing, a more vibrant business community, more walkability, more bikeability and an increased use of public transportation,” Hampshire said.
He said businesses like Kingma’s Market are important parts of the neighborhood, adding he and his wife are fans of the market’s wine selection.
“Kingma’s is a beautiful space,” he said. “Alan (Hartline) is a wonderful and engaged owner who cares about the community. I think he calls himself the ‘bagger in chief,’ which I appreciate somebody who is as hard working and invested as him, and can be so humble. So folks are excited.”
Hartline said there are many great local communities in the area, and the Creston Neighborhood “exemplifies that.”
“You truly feel like a neighborhood here and particularly shopping the store. There’s so many people that we know people by name, that are so excited they can walk to Kingman’s Market and that local community feel,” he said. “There’s a great sense of pride with Creston, particularly with all the growth and excitement that’s happening. There’s just this energy right now that we’re just we’re blessed to be a part of.”