The Business Journal honored Amy Ruis as one of 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2008, a member of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2010 and a Top Women-Owned Businesses finalist in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Photo by Johnny Quirin
She’s an entrepreneur, a pioneer of the Wealthy Street neighborhood business district — and purveyor of some of the classiest fare in town.
And now Amy Ruis, founder of Art of the Table and Aperitivo, has been named as this year’s distinguished alumnus for the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s annual 40 Under 40 recognition of young business and business community leaders. Ruis has been a multiple nominee and winner in previous 40 Under 40 classes and Business Journal Top Women-Owned Businesses awards programs. She’s “floored every time” she’s nominated, but this is especially rewarding, Ruis said.
“I was quite stunned,” she said of getting the call from Business Journal Editor Carole Valade. “I had no idea. I was flattered and kind of taken back.
“It’s quite an honor.”
Previous 40 Under 40 alumni of the year include U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles; Lambert, Edwards & Associates President Jeff Lambert; and CWD Real Estate Investment Managing Partner Sam Cummings.
Ruis and the Business Journal 40 Under 40 will be honored at an event from 5-8 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, 30 N. Division Ave. downtown.
This year, the Business Journal received a record-setting 317 nominations for applicants – almost doubling any previous year.
“There are so many young people out there right now that are so deserving of this award. I’m four years out of the running for 40 Under 40, and I don’t think there were this many people in the running back then,” Ruis said. “Grand Rapids Business Journal will soon have to honor 400 under 40.
“It’s really exciting where Grand Rapids can go, seeing as there are so many leaders that are so young. I can’t believe 317 people were nominated. It’s really cool to watch that change as it’s happened in Grand Rapids.”
Since 2002, the Business Journal has hosted an event, recognizing more than 300 young professionals who have achieved personal success and made significant civic contributions to the region. The Business Journal has provided a business 40 Under Forty recognition since 1997.
Ruis received her B.A. in elementary education at Calvin College. She launched her career in 1992 as a manager and buyer at Haymarket Square, where she stayed five years before becoming a buyer at J Mollema & Son. Four years later she opened Art of the Table, a specialty food, beverage and tabletop retail store.
Ruis also is co-owner of Aperitivo, a Grand Rapids wine bar and retailer that offers imported and domestic cheeses, charcuterie, wine, beer and cider. Aperitivo opened in 2013 in the Downtown Market, 435 Ionia Ave. SW.
Art of the Table, 606 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, is known for its craft beverages, specialty foods and home and host products. Many city leaders and developers have noted the store’s role in rejuvenating Wealthy Street.
“It added to the catalyst that was already happening. I think that those businesses that opened around the same time as we did provided a really nice cluster of businesses that were shaping the street,” she said.
“I’m daily (surprised) by the joy of how many people have opened since then and the options we have in our neighborhood. I think Art of the Table was on the early cusp of that.”
Amy Ruis honors
- GRBJ 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan honoree, 2008
- GRBJ 40 Under 40 Class of 2010
- GRBJ Top Women-Owned Businesses finalist, 2011, 2013, 2015