GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The opening of Shinola in downtown Grand Rapids is delayed due to material shortages and construction.
The Detroit-based brand known for its watchmaking is moving to the east side of Monroe Center. While it was originally set to open in November, its new opening date is projected for late January, according to a company spokesperson.
“Our strategy has always been to open our doors when a store is ready rather than make compromises to meet a deadline,” Jennie Schumacher, a public relations strategist with the company, said. “We are very excited to grow our footprint in Grand Rapids and are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive reception our new store has received. We are on track to open early 2024 and in time for Valentine’s Day gift shopping.”
Shinola is the 20th recipient of the city’s retail innovation grant, which helps supplement 50% of an applicant’s rent for the first 18 months.
“We have some retail goals for downtown, and one of them is the moving in of a strong anchor tenant at the east end of Monroe Center,” Melvin Eledge, director of operations with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., said. “I think Shinola definitely fits that bill.”
Since the grant started in 2018, 19 other businesses have moved into the downtown area, many of which are owned and operated by women and minority groups. Fourteen of those businesses remain in operation in downtown Grand Rapids as of this month.
The grant was launched “as an effort to provide funding opportunities to small and local businesses,” according to Eledge.
“To attract them to downtown and to really focus in on the BIPOC- and female-owned businesses, especially as those two populations tend to face more barriers than other populations,” he said.
Funding for these grants comes by way of the Downtown Development Authority and property tax capture. While the economic tool was paused for a seven-month period last year to review best practices, the relaunch has already attracted several additional businesses, according to DGRI.
Additionally, Eledge said a technical assistance grant, a collaborative marketing events grant and a pop-up incubator grant were just launched by the DDA to retain already-operating businesses in the area.