DW Store Comes To Downtown GR

January 21, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS —Spartan Stores plans to invest $8 million to replace the Duthler’s Family Foods store at Michigan Street and Fuller Avenue NE with D&W Fresh Market to serve the growing Medical Mile area.

Spartan will tear down the circa 1950 building — the city’s first Meijer Inc. store — and replace it with a 40,000, two-story store that will feature D&W Fresh Market’s upscale goods and employ 200 full- and part-time workers, Spartan spokeswoman Jeanne Norcross said. The Duthler store will move into Spartan’s Family Fare location at Madison Avenue and Hall Street SE. Duthler has been a wholesale customer of Spartan products.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and Spartan CEO and Chairman Craig Sturken made the announcement Saturday during Heartwell’s annual state-of-the-city address.

“If you look around the city of Grand Rapids, you see incredible development  both in the health sector as well as the housing,” Norcross said. “There’s a lot of new condos and apartments that have developed in the downtown area that weren’t there three year ago, or even a year ago.

“We believe and our research tells us there will continue to be growth and development in that urban setting and a need for a full-service supermarket.”

Norcross said in addition to the D&W brand’s emphasis on fresh foods, the store will feature ready-made selections and a café area.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind supermarket that will serve as the east anchor to the Medical Mile development,” Heartwell said. “That’s over 150 new jobs in Grand Rapids when this project is complete.”

Norcross estimated that the new store may open in 12 to 18 months. Spartan currently has five stores in the city of Grand Rapids.

“This is a hot corner,” said Jon Duthler, who owns the three-store Duthler’s Family Foods with brothers Dave and Tom Duthler and brother-in-law Ian Smith. Jon Duthler said the family has fended off developers for years.

“We market traditionally to the core urban areas of Grand Rapids,” Jon Duthler said. “As we see the development on the hill … the demographics are changing a little bit. We just felt that the Madison location fits our core demographics.”

Heartwell also called for 500 new jobs to be created for city youth before his current term expires. He said the Manufacturers Council at The Right Place Inc., the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Workforce Development Board have joined with him to attain this goal.

The mayor also honored Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Bernard Taylor, Grand Rapids Community College President Juan Olivarez, and Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas with the Champion of Diversity Award.

“Collectively, these three men are driving change; they are influencing the minds of tens of thousands of young people, and thousands more instructional and administrative staff members. Collectively, they are reshaping the landscape of racial ethics in Grand Rapids,” said Heartwell.

It was the second year Heartwell made the Champion award. He has dedicated it to those who have demonstrated a personal passion for diversity and have promoted racial equity.

The mayor, who gave his address at DeVos Place, said a lot has been accomplished over the past year. But he added that more work needed to be done, and now was not the time to step back and admire what has been achieved.

“Our future lies in generating the energy to continuously accelerate that momentum, to visualize and then achieve great dreams for all of our citizens,” he said. “We have accomplished much together as a community of partners.”

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