Published in Economic Development

City, Grand Rapids Chamber bring on new staff to help business attraction, equity

BY MIBIZ STAFF Monday, January 27, 2020 02:30pm

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has hired a retail retention and attraction specialist to help attract regional and national retailers to the city.

In partnership with the city of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., the Chamber has hired Richard App to support retail businesses and increase the number of new retail recruitment resulting in reduced first-floor vacancy rates. 

Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber COURTESY PHOTO

According to a statement, Trinity Clemens also joined the Chamber as business services coordinator. Her role will be focused on supporting minority businesses in Grand Rapids through multiple programs.

Clemens will also support recruitment for minority programming and collaboration with the greater Grand Rapids business community.

“Having a member of our team focused on building out a strategy to retain and attract local, regional and national retailers to our commercial neighborhoods is essential to Grand Rapids’ continued growth,” Chamber President and CEO Rick Baker said in a statement.

Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington also announced the creation of four positions dedicated to “elevating service” from the city. 

Washington said the city has hired Darrell Singleton as a customer ombudsperson, a newly created position that will help “elevate the customer service experience for residents and small business owners” in Grand Rapids. 

Another person, Alvin Hills IV, was hired by the city as a business developer in the Office of Equity and Engagement. Hills recruits, directs and assists micro-local business enterprises, minority business enterprises, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned small businesses and other small local businesses with obtaining supplier opportunities. 

The city also hired Ciarra Adkins as an equity analyst in the Office of Equity and Engagement. Adkins will work with city staff and external partners to infuse equity into city requests for proposals, contract deliverables, outreach, support services and communications as a strategy to address inequitable wealth access.

Finally, the city hired Jessica Solis as a neighborhood business district liaison to provide administrative support for six city corridor improvement authorities and one business improvement district.

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