Grand Rapids' new “Downtown Market” continues making progress

The new market was named on Sept. 17 and will feature indoor and outdoor stalls for fresh food vendors, restaurants, event space and a youth demonstration kitchen among other attractions.

The new market in Grand Rapids, currently under construction on the south end of downtown just east of US-131, was officially named the “Downtown Market” on September 17, 2012. This market is planned for opening in the summer of 2013 and will house indoor and outdoor stalls for fresh food vendors, two restaurants, a commercial kitchen, rooftop greenhouses, event space and the nation’s first youth demonstration kitchen. Grand Action and the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, who have been leading the development of the new market, hope the facility will be a center for local food education, production, innovation, excitement and marketing.

The Downtown Market’s Board of Directors also announced that Mimi Fritz, the former marketing director of the Downtown Holland Principal Shopping District and Holland Farmers Market, will serve as the Downtown Market’s new President and CEO starting September 24, 2012.  In addition, the Board of Directors of the market launched a new web site for the market: The site links to several social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

 “We’re thrilled to launch our web-based platforms and will continue the work of readying the new public market facility for opening day next summer,” George Aquino, chairman of the Downtown Market Board of Directors, commented. “The Downtown Market aspires to become a vibrant hub for our local food movements in both the real and virtual-world.”

Local food producers and growers interested in renting space in Downtown Market should contact Chris Muller with M Retail Solutions at 616-881-2888.

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Director Tom Coon serves on the Market’s Board of Directors. With the opportunity for educational connections on a variety of food production and nutrition topics, MSU Extension is also working to have space in the building.

For more information on MSU Extension’s local food programming, please visit the Extension news site or contact Kendra Wills, co-leader of the MSU Extension Community Food Systems Workgroup, at 616-336-2028.

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