Market Off To Good Start

December 16, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Traffic has been brisk for a vital and new Monroe Center business that fills a past void and should help support future downtown residential developments.

The Grand Central Market, a full-service grocery with a deli section that opened earlier this month at 57 Monroe Center, seems to be an early favorite with those who live downtown.

“We’ve been busy,” said Jason Wheeler, who owns the market with Ryan Wheeler and Andy Armstrong.

“We’re just getting on our feet here and starting to put together a more formal marketing and advertising campaign. But as far as the store’s operation goes, we’ve been plugging away and things are going very good for us.”

So far downtown residents have largely bought the basic items that every home needs that weren’t readily available to them within walking distance.

“The evening crowd will grab a bottle of wine and something for dinner. But a lot of people pop in throughout the day to get flour, sugar and toilet paper — the essentials,” said Wheeler.

The owners are keeping a close eye on what items are sold and will review that list next month to determine if they need to make changes to the store’s inventory. But for now, if the Grand Central Market doesn’t have an asked-for item in stock, customers can fill out a request form and the store gets it within two days.

Most of the market’s early customers have come from those living in four Monroe Center residences: Front Row Condominiums, Cityview Condominiums, the Morton House and the Peck Building.

But with more developments going up (The Fitzgerald on Library Street, Icon on Bond on North Monroe, and The River House at Bridgewater Place), and with others on the drawing board (two planned for Ionia Avenue SW and one set for Fulton and Division), Grand Central Market has a good chance to expand its marketing and customer base in the near future.

“It’s been really, really positive,” said Wheeler of the comments they have received from customers the past few weeks since the grand opening.

“We’ve had a great time, especially with the people who live in the Front Row, the Peck Building, the Morton House and the People’s Building,” he added. “And we’ve gotten a lot more specialized because we’ve had such a great response.”    

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