GRAND RAPIDS — A proposal to open a small grocery store in the burgeoning Heartside neighborhood of downtown Grand Rapids appears to be off the table, MiBiz has learned.
The partners behind the proposed Shark Market LLC store on the ground floor of the mixed-use building at 38 Commerce Ave. SW say that after trying to work with two banks in West Michigan, they struggled to assemble the financing for the store.
“The financing didn’t come through in the way we needed to make it work so we backed out for now,” said Jeff VandenBerg, one of the partners in the store that aimed to offer grocery staples, specialty food as well as Michigan beer and wine. “We got (city commission) approval and we got a great space. But the most important part didn’t come through.”
“Our plans kept shrinking,” he said. “We kept stripping back to where it was just going to be a glorified convenience store.”
VandenBerg is also the co-owner of the Pyramid Scheme Bar a few doors down on Commerce Avenue.
At 3,500 square feet, the Shark Market store may not have been large enough to fill the void of a full-service grocery store that many people have said exists in the downtown market.
However, the partners previously told MiBiz they saw a growing need for more shopping options in a downtown are that’s in the middle of significant residential and commercial growth.
Located at the southeast corner of Commerce Avenue and Weston Street, the commercial space is now listed with the Grand Rapids office of Colliers International, according to multiple signs in the window.
The partners in the proposed Shark Market had worked with commercial brokerage M Retail Solutions in developing their plans for the store. “The firm “was very helpful to us,” Shark Market partner Nick Monoyios said in an email to MiBiz.
Going forward, VandenBerg said he is more likely to consider opening another bar as opposed to trying his hand at a store.
“I’m glad we explored the option, but in the end, I’m kind of relieved I don’t have to think about it anymore,” he said. “I’m ready to move on at this point.”