Second to None: Grand Rapids Local Businesses

June 8th, 2015

New city, new opportunities.

That was the mentality I had when moving to Grand Rapids, a place I had never before been. As the new 616 Apprentice, I was eager to dive in and experience the culture of a city that I would be calling home for the summer. I was determined to shy away from normal, everyday businesses that can be easily accessed back home in Illinois. To indulge in the wide variety of local businesses and restaurants, making me a true Grand Rapidian. So, that’s what I’ve done. And I have not once looked back.

Only a few weeks in, and I’ve already seen some incredible local treasures. From the delicious breakfast I had at Bagel Beanery, to the one-of-a-kind shopping I did at Martha’s Vineyard, I have experienced some of Grand Rapids’ best. The greatest part? Supporting local business. After the 616 Community Conversation with Local First on May 19 at Osteria Rossa (yet another awesome local business), I better understand the importance of local business on a city’s economy. Shopping local paves avenues for the success of an entire community.

As a millennial, revitalizing urban economies is a necessity; that is where my future lies. In a city like Grand Rapids, that future could be very bright. This community cares about and seizes local opportunities, and I encourage you to take advantage of local opportunities as well. Who knows? It could enhance your taste buds. It could enhance your experiences. And it could enhance your city. It’s a win-win and an opportunity that is second to none.

Go out and see what our city has to offer. My next stop? Lunch at A Moveable Feast.

Written by:  Andrew Donsbach, Apprentice

Andrew Donsbach, Apprentice

We are excited to introduce our summer apprentice at 616 Lofts — Andrew Donsbach. Andrew will be sharing his perspective as a millennial with us on our community, the city of Grand Rapids and the field of development. Look forward to future writings from Andrew in our blog.


Likes: days at the ballpark and family time.
Dislikes: slow cars in the left lane.
Likes: overcoming challenges, stimulating conversations.
Dislikes: snakes.


Andrew recently joined the 616 Tribe as the Apprentice for Summer 2015. As he works to better understand the complex world of 616, Andrew will be working heavily with organizational communication to community members of both 616 Lofts and the city of Grand Rapids. From visual communication, to helping with community creation, Andrew is an enthusiastic addition to the Tribe.


Raised in the small town of Effingham, Illinois, Andrew is a student at Eastern Illinois University. He has always had a knack for visual elements & communication, and is driven by creativity. Andrew’s original intent was to pursue his creative talent in either graphic design or architecture, but he eventually settled into a business degree. Through this, he is allowed to explore his creative side while engaging his passion for people.

andrew + 616

While searching for internships, Andrew was introduced to 616 Development through a family member. Urban living and real estate have always been a huge interest of his, making an apprenticeship with the 616 Tribe the perfect opportunity. Andrew first met members of the Tribe in March before being welcomed as a part of the team.

Andrew has developed a strong desire to become a part of the Grand Rapids community, which he feels can be fulfilled through his position. Andrew is excited to work with other members of the 616 Tribe to continue fostering growth in and around Grand Rapids.

the Kendall Chapter 1: revitalizing a legacy


On August 31st 2012, 616 Development closed on one of downtown Grand Rapids’ most iconic – and most underutilized – properties: the Kendall Building at 16 and 18 Monroe Center. Enthusiasm for this project in the local community was high, with local media eagerly speculating on the project before its announcement.

History of Kendall

Located directly in front of Monument Park at the busy downtown intersection of Fulton and Division, half a block from public transportation, parking and blocks from city theaters and the entertainment district, the Kendall Building has laid dormant for nearly three decades. Continue reading “the Kendall Chapter 1: revitalizing a legacy” »