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

Tribal Thoughts: Be a part of the conversation.

May 27, 2014

“Local First is about relationships. Relationships between people and businesses and place.” – Elissa Hillary, Executive Director of Local First

One of my favorite things about this community is that there are so many opportunities to get involved and be part of the conversation. If you have questions, an opinion, or if you are just looking to connect and dig a little deeper, many conversations are open for discussion.

We recently began our speaker series titled Community Conversations. Our first guest was Elissa Hillary with Local First. Many of us know Local First as a sticker in the front window or as the hosts of a Street Party every summer. What you may not know, are many of the initiatives that are in place to help local businesses not only grow, but grow responsibly through a certification called B-corp. Local First also supports spending locally by educating consumers on the value of spending dollars at locally owned businesses, specifically by promoting its members.

I have had some people ask what Local First offers its members or say that they don’t know what exactly the organization is all about. My answer is always the same… ask questions and be a part of the conversation! If you have suggestions – offer them. If you want to be involved, but don’t know how – find out. The idea behind the Community Conversation speaker series is just that. A place to learn more, ask questions, offer suggestions, and find out how to get involved.

Our next series is June 16 at 4pm at Osteria Rossa with Tami VandenBerg of Wellhouse. Come with questions!



by Monica Steimle

Raised in Holland and educated at Grand Valley State University, Monica has a passion for West Michigan. Her background in real estate spans over 15 years at some of downtown Grand Rapids’ most well-known commercial real estate companies.

Monica lives with her three children in Belknap Neighborhood. She currently sits on the boards of Local First and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.



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