New retailers, restaurant coming to Monroe Center

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Courtesy Rockford Construction

Two new retail stores and a new restaurant are setting up shop in the center of Grand Rapids’ Hotel District.

Rockford Construction and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) recently said Oh, Hello Co. and Gazelle Sports will extend their retail presence to Monroe Center Street NW in 2022, and Vietnamese restaurant Monsoon also plans to open its doors early this year.

The new tenants will join other Rockford-owned and -managed tenants such as The Aroma Labs, a custom fragrance store that opened in late 2021.

“We’re adding the kind of businesses to Monroe Center that people want to visit on their weekends, lunch breaks and after work,” said Mike Mraz, president of real estate development, Rockford Construction. “With the help of our partners at DGRI, we’re looking forward to building on this momentum and adding to the all-encompassing downtown experience.”

Kalamazoo-based Gazelle Sports will establish a satellite shop in 3,535 square feet of space at 52 Monroe Center St. NW.

Jennifer Brummit, CEO of Gazelle Sports, said the company is looking forward to engaging with visitors, neighbors and businesses in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We will offer free weekly runs and walks and have flexible space within our store to host educational clinics, group meetups and events,” Brummit said.

Alex and Kayla Benda, owners of Oh, Hello Co., plan to expand their downtown presence in a 1,818-square-foot store called Courage and Soar. The couple plan to open the new shop at 50 Monroe Center St. NW in March.

Alex Benda said the company is opening Courage and Soar to create a space in the city unlike anything else.

“It’s going to be truly unique to downtown,” he said. “We’ll offer modern, upscale home goods at an affordable price point, and we’ll have fine art from local artists on display and available for purchase. We plan to partner with other local businesses and host workshops and scavenger hunts that showcase the beauty of downtown Grand Rapids. We couldn’t be more excited to bring this concept to the city.”

Vietnamese restaurant Monsoon will be in 2,275 square feet of retail space at 55 Monroe Center St. NW. The restaurant has not yet announced an opening date.

The new tenants join several other Rockford-owned and -managed buildings along Monroe Center. Financials of the latest transactions were not disclosed.

“Companies are ready to take advantage of the ample opportunities in Grand Rapids, a city that is consistently named as one of the fastest-growing economies in the country,” Mraz said. “At Rockford, we recognize the need to continue fostering growth in West Michigan. A critical aspect of our success hinges on continued investment in Grand Rapids’ downtown, providing residents new opportunities to live, work and play in the city. Partnering with these great businesses allows us to do just that.”

More information on Rockford Construction’s development arm is at rockfordconstruction.com/work/develop.

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