ChoiceOne Bank joins renovation push in downtown Sparta


The exterior renovations will include moving the entryway to the corner of the building and incorporating a tower. Courtesy Thompson-Phelan Group

ChoiceOne Bank is reinvesting in its hometown of Sparta.

The flagship branch at 109 E. Division Ave. in downtown Sparta is set to see its first major overhaul since the late 1990s. A large portion of the project will be a façade renovation, which many buildings in downtown Sparta currently are undergoing, said Kelly Potes, ChoiceOne president.

The project is scheduled to begin in May and should be completed by the end of the year.

With the growth of the bank throughout Kent County, Potes said the main branch has seen an increase in the number of employees, necessitating an interior renovation. The square footage won’t increase, but Potes said the interior space will be reconfigured for increased efficiency.

Part of the exterior renovation will include returning the entrance to the corner of the building. A tower will be added to the structure to match the architecture featured at the bank’s new branches.

The ChoiceOne building occupies a large footprint that also includes a parking lot adjacent to a village park.

Lighting and fencing of the facility will add to the park’s atmosphere, Potes said, as will a continuation of the village’s “arch theme” for the ChoiceOne covered parking area.

“We’re doing quite a bit to the outside and making it look more distinctive,” Potes said.

The interior renovation includes a redesign of the customer service area, which will be more user friendly for an evolved consumer, Potes said. The “teller pods” included in the renovation will allow representatives more room to interact with clients, he said.

ChoiceOne has 12 branches throughout the region, all of which were renovated or newly constructed within the past five years. Branch updates are on a one-per-year schedule, Potes said, and the main branch is the final update in this round.

Thompson-Phelan Group is the lead designer and developer of the branch network remodeling and construction.

“As bankers, we are always in the business of building trust,” ChoiceOne CEO James Bosserd said. “We have built a long-lasting relationship with the Thompson-Phelan team and trust they will do an outstanding job for us and our Sparta community.”

The expansion of ChoiceOne is largely organic, Potes said, with business growing approximately 5 percent to 6 percent every year since the bank merged with Valley Ridge Financial Corp. in 2006.

The bank’s recent expansion into the Grand Rapids market currently is limited to loan production, but Potes anticipates a full-service offering in the near future.

Before opening any new branches to take the bank’s services to the rest of the county, Potes said the Sparta branch had to be upgraded.

He said a commitment to Sparta could not be forgotten as it’s been home to ChoiceOne for more than 117 years. Potes said he is excited about all the current building activity in Sparta, including a $58 million bond millage to build a new middle school and athletic facilities.

“We’re showing our commitment to where we started,” Potes said. “It was time to refresh, and we wanted to do something a little more than we had done in the past. It was an investment we felt we needed to make.

“There’s quite a bit going on in Sparta.”

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