Nonprofit expands into new space


The nonprofit Local First is based in Grand Rapids on Fuller Avenue NE, just south of Michigan Street NE. Courtesy Local First

A nonprofit focused on local businesses has moved into a new home across town that’s triple the size of its first space.

Local First said yesterday that it will celebrate its new 3,000-square-foot office in Grand Rapids, at 345 Fuller Ave. NE, with an open house next Thursday from 4-7 p.m.

The organization said it outgrew its most recent office in the city, a 2,000-square-foot space at 955 Wealthy St. SE.

Local First plans to continue to expand its programming and staff, which consists of nine employees.

The new space includes an open layout with 12 workstations, one large and two small conference rooms, two kitchenettes and a small semi-private office.

“This move is taking Local First to a whole new level,” said Elissa Hillary, executive director, Local First. “We are so grateful to everyone who contributed their time and efforts to creating this space.”

Securing and outfitting new space

Local First is leasing the space from Green Cane Property, which purchased the building in 2013.

Grand Rapids-based X Ventures brokered the lease deal.

Lott3Metz Architecture in Grand Rapids designed the interior, while Green Cane Property oversaw the build out.

Grand Rapids-based Custer provided Steelcase furniture, and Complete Flooring Solutions installed carpeting.

Design Edge in Grand Rapids created the exterior signage.

Silver Lining Computer Services set up the space’s wireless network and transferred the organization’s server.

Building history

The building at 345 Fuller Ave. NE was built in 1958 by Leonard L. Westdale as the home of Westdale Company, a real estate brokerage.

In the 1980s, the building became home to the local Republican Party headquarters and was purchased by party chairwoman Betsy DeVos in 1985.

The building later served as President Barack Obama’s local campaign headquarters in 2012.

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