Why are there so many vacant buildings?


Grand Rapids Voice asks you the public for your opinion and your comments on the question of why are there so many businesses and commercial properties in the area that are vacant, for sale or for rent?

Is there something happening here that’s causing these vacancies that we can correct?

As more and more private homes and commercial properties come on the market for sale, what does it do to your home value and ultimately you and your families wealth?

Would it be nicer to live in a home that is appreciating in value instead of one that is depreciating in value? Where is this value going and who receives it? Can we stop the bleeding or is it our ultimate destiny?

We have posted photos of a few of the more obvious closed businesses and or properties for sale or rent on the main streets of Grand Rapids and will be posting more photos as we widen the scope of this article.

Do we need a new direction?  Is there need to hold elected officials more accountable?  Is there need to vote for or hire new leadership?  Is there need for  more money for economic development and less government intervention or is there a need for more government involvement?

These are the topics on which we would like you, the people and your voice be heard. We will allow you to comment anonymously however we reserve the right to edit out any profanity and explicit or inappropriate content. We will be expanding the list of properties over the coming months along with your comments.

In the future the scope of this post will be expanded to include listings of non-property tax paying and tax advantaged properties in the area.  Many of these properties are city owned, county owned and nonprofit owned parcels and are listed on the county tax roles. Your comments are welcome.

-GRV-

Sorry folks, I felt that the comments on Muslims were diverting us off of the topic regarding closed businesses in Grand Rapids.  So I pulled them from the post.  The comments on Muslims  have not been deleted.  Maybe we could  begin a different discussion of the Muslim issue as it also seems to be a “Hot Button Item”.  Thanks for your understanding.   -GRV Moderator-

53 thoughts on “Why are there so many vacant buildings?

  1. Anton

    There are some very good comments, but many of those who consider themselves “conservative” have bought into the lie that government is supposed to help create jobs and prosperity.

    In order to create a stronger local economy, we need less decisions made by the bureaucrats, not “smarter” people running our lives. It is not supposed to be the politician’s decision of what kind of retail store or manufacturing company locates here…it is the market and the investors that need to decide that.

    Look at what the politically based “crystal ball readers” have brought our area the last 30-40 years…..all this financed from the taxpayers wallet. The failed projects that came from the IRRRB, IDC, state and federal tax funding , and even funds given away by the Blandin Foundation, add up to Billions (not millions) in today’s dollars.

    Let’s name a few as we stroll down memory lane: Technimar, Chop Sticks factory in Hibbing,
    Magnetation, Essar Steel fiasco, Tire Cycle, Iron World , Mesabi Energy, on and on it goes.
    Blandin Foundation helps fund local projects like the City Library, which costs taxpayers close to
    a million dollars per year to keep open.

    I support attracting industries to the area that offer high paying jobs, but not at the taxpayers expense. If the local mines cannot compete, than they need to either cut costs or close the doors. Raising my electric rates and giving them billions of tax dollars will not solve the problem.
    ( on the other hand….our tax dollars should not be given to the IMF to help build factories overseas)

    I know plenty of people who build large successful business’s without using taxpayer funds. The best thing government can do is stay small and get the hell out of our way!

    Like

    1. That’s always the response. “Why don’t you run”. Which Is just a way to marginalized a person that has the guts to speak up. The fact is the numbers tell you the place is a disaster and when they call out the people that put us here you marginaliz them. The fact is if you support the golf course which doesn’t come close to being financially sound much less justify the capital cost and all the other leeches in the system you can be the prom queen. That my friend is exactly what we have. As Dr. Phil says, how’s that working for you.

      Like

      1. Lynn

        I totally get that. Just because you voice your opinion doesn’t mean you are planning to try to get on city council.
        However….we NEED people like Ryan on city council.
        So if or when he or somene with his viewpoints runs for city council we need to back them!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For numerous reasons. Some stores have prices so high, the normal person cannot afford to shop there. Some stores can’t afford the rent they are charged to be in their location, because the city wants so much money for the spot(s). People just don’t make enough money to afford a lot of the places items, let alone live on what they really need to make a go of it. Taxes are too high for everyone, from land to vehicles to state tax and county taxes. Even the Veterinary clinics charge so much, it hurts just to walk in the door—and in-town prices are way more than competitors out of town. They have a huge percentile increase on their over-the-counter items as well. The list goes on. Our town is growing, but maybe we are over-loaded with too many of the same things in town, and not enough of ‘different’ businesses, to allow the money to be able to be more evenly spread around, and not to be too much competition in the same line of businesses.

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  3. Corrine

    As we sell our big business like Blandin to a foreign entity…it takes a large amount of money out of our community… also the city has put so much focus on developing the south end of town it pulls everyone out of the downtown area. If you are walking by a business and see something interesting in the window, you may go into that business and may end up purchasing something that you didn’t even know you wanted or needed. When everything is out of town often it is inconvenient to take the time to drive in town, unless you need something specific. Shoes from Benders for example. So much has left the mall that it isn’t as much fun to walk through it anymore. Part of that I am sure is due to such high rent for those mall spaces. Just my opinion. thank you.

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  4. Schelly Peterson

    Real estate is outrageous. Minimum wage is a joke, nobody can live off it. There are no jobs around that pay much more than that in the area so it’s impossible to make a living here. People are working 40 hours a week and bringing home $900 a month, good luck trying to even find it decent house to rent for that amount let alone live .

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  5. charles Nelson

    From a small businessman’s perspective I’d like to comment on why we have so many vacant buildings. There are approximately 35 buildings for sale, for rent or lease along the two main highways. They are not all old or small buildings. There are several reasons.
    1. Taxes are high to support an inflated city workforce. We are comparable in size to Bemidji, yet our work force is double and I would guess higher paid. That money comes from taxes we pay. We act like we are a cadillac town when we should be ford or chevy. Why do we need $4500. dollar street lights and brick intersections? Why are we still sending around water meter readers? Use modern technology to have the readings sent in.
    2. If you move into a different building, the cost of renovation and realignment is out of sight due to all the upgrades required by zoning and building codes. You will not be cut any slack. Ask L & M what they had to pay to redo the parking lot after they moved into the old Walmart building. The old lot worked just fine. Along with that the fees for building or remodeling are unreasonable. I recently paid $60 to replace a $100 door someone had destroyed.
    3. Most of our businesses collect thousand of dollars for the state through the sales tax, some of us also collect a 3% tax for the city to support tourism. That’s almost 10% on what we charge our tourists. That does not help sell our business. The state needs to send more of that money back to the local area.
    Recommendations;
    1. Homes are taxed approximately 1% of value, apartments 2% and businesses 3%. Renters get 17% fo their rent back because supposedly the landlord charged them for the taxes. The problem is that landlords are competing with subsidized housing which pays no. property tax.
    We will always be short of affordable housing because it can’t be build cheap enough to compete with the subsidized housing. At least charge the landlords the same tax as single family houses which have homestead exemption also and eliminate the rent rebate. Rents would come down to reflect that. I have sent a recommendation to our legislature that they should give a similar exemption to businesses. Give businesses the first $100,000 tax free. It would be a tremendous help to small businesses and fill some of those vacant buildings. The sales taxes they would collect would more than make up for the tax break.
    2. Our zoning officials and inspectors need to cut us more slack. A building that has served the public for decades may not be up to code, but use some reason about what needs to be upgraded. The fees and inspections costs need to be reduced considerably. We recently pulled a permit in Cohasset. the same permit in Grand Rapids would have been 6 times as much.
    3. Get rid of the fiscal disparities. Businesses last year paid approximately 20% more on their taxes and it was sent to other parts of the iron range. Why are we subsidizing their governments?

    It’s always easier to spend someone else’s money, that’s why we have similar problems on every level of government. As citizens we need to speak up and hold them accountable.

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  6. RYAN

    Why are there so many buildings empty in Grand Rapids. It is the city’s incessant demand for more revenue. The “Local Area Sales Tax” was proposed two years ago with the “pitch” that it was needed for street repair and that it would transfer “out-of-town” dollars into the city’s coffers. Sounds good, but WAIT. The lie being told or the information not being shared was that this would more heavily burden the local citizenry and especially hurt those at the lower income levels, as a greater percentage of their wages would be taken by this regressive tax. It died two years ago and we need to kill it again.

    What is the best way to get rid of such an idea? Vote out those who are currently on the city council.

    No one now serving on this council has ever operated a street level retail establishment, yet they are responsible for the city’s budget. They have no “feel” as to the impact that their decisions have on the lives and livelihood of those whose money they are spending. I question whether they even have a clue as to what ZERO BASED BUDGETING is. It is easier to increase spending and raise tax revenue than to look at every item in the budget and reduce spending. There is fat in each and every department of the city [police and fire excepted]. This needs to be trimmed and eliminated. Every line item on the budget needs to be checked for necessity and actual need. Personnel may have to be let go. In the private world of business these types of decisions are made daily. Business needs to make a profit – the city cannot continue to be another form of job welfare, When a business is doing poorly cuts are made – doesn’t happen in city government and city departments.

    The only thing that this council knows is to say “yes” to new projects, but has no understanding of prioritizing projects and spending. Because something is in a comprehensive plan does not necessarily make it a mandate to do the project. Often times postponing a project is the best choice, until such time as the city can get its’ house in order by reducing debt without raising taxes.

    In fact we have a former tax and spend DFL party chair; a school teacher [salary from collected school tax]; an individual who only claims to have a business background but most all of his endeavors are funded by “free” grant money; a retired pastor with the mindset of take care of all people and don’t worry about money [husband of a former mayor who never met a project or tax she did not like to spend OPM [other people’s money]; and a mayor who has never understood business but loves golf and will defend the golf course and its’ operation to the enth degree but has no understanding of ZERO BASED BUDGETING.

    The paragraph above identifies the problem. We, the voters, continually vote into office individuals of questionable ability business and managerial experience to manage a multimillion dollar organization. Things will only change when this mayor and this council are gone and replaced with individuals who are competent in business and who grasp the concept of ZERO BASED BUDGETING and come into office with the drive to get the most out of every tax dollar. Get the greatest bang for the buck.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jay S

    Poor business management, poor service in the food industry, and online sales. Retail location rentals are way to high for the local economy which has left multiple locations vacant for years and more becoming vacant. Add in higher than average property taxes for most smaller Minnesota communities and the retail market decreases its profitability over online shopping. Customer service is lacking with many areas in the community.

    Like

  8. Todd

    Taxes, rent and parking are a few of the issues with the downtown area. I heard at one time that on top of the rent in the mall you also had to pay a percentage of your sales. I don’t know how true that is but that would steer me away.
    I agree we need some better paying jobs but anything like that would go to Cohasset because it’s so much cheaper.
    As far as retailers go, I believe we could use a Kohls, Herbergers or even a TJ Maxx. Somewhere to buy quality name brand clothing at a decent price. We have nothing in that category. There are 3 buildings available that could hold any of them. I don’t know who, but I would imagine someone has to be or should be going after these businesses trying to fill those spaces. My opinion, one good retail store like I mentioned to come in and take over the whole mall I think would revive that downtown area. I do realize that the specialty stores like Benders, Briers and Hoppertons could feel some impact due to a retailer of that size but sometimes competition in retail can be good. None of those stores are terribly overpriced in my opinion so I think they could compete.
    I’d also like to touch on the tourism topic. If some of you think we can survive without it you are sadly mistaken. I’ve been in the hospitality industry in this area for 25 years from fine dining, bartending in live entertainment venues to seasonal resorts and casual restaurants. I can guarantee there would be a lot more vacant buildings if we didn’t have tourism. Ask the dozen (locally owned) hotel owners where they would be without tourism. I can assure you that when the Timberlake, Country Inn and Pine Grove Motel are full on a Wednesday in January it’s not because of locals needing a night away from home. We may spend a ridiculous amount of tax dollars on the tourism industry but the return is worth it for the business owners and the community as a whole.
    I do agree with whoever commented on the property taxes being to high. We are not Minneapolis and will never be Minneapolis. I personally know people/families that have been driven out of their homes because of the increases. When you get into the $1600 – $2000 a year in taxes for a home in town with no yard, that’s almost $200 a month on top of your mortgage. Now you went from a 1st time excited home buyer with a reasonable mortgage to wondering if you can swing it. Then you have retired mom and pop living on SS in their home of 58 years and they have to sell because their taxes went up. I’ve owned 2 homes and both were out of city limits due to that reason.
    This is a bit off topic but also fits in. I think the city should cough up some tax dollars, buy the old Pro Build (UBC) building and do what the city of Duluth did and open something like Adventure Zone. There is still after all these years nothing in this town for friends/family entertainment. They have indoor mini golf, laser tag, huge arcade, indoor rock climbing, virtual reality rides, concessions and a restaurant. I know dozens of people from Rapids that go there just for the rock climbing wall. Every time we go to Duluth we stop so my boys can play laser tag. Something like that is needed just as much as anything else. There is nothing to do here for the locals and I don’t want to hear anyone say “what about the Judy Garland Museum”
    I know it’s sometimes hard to shop local because the big box stores are cheaper but shop around once in a while and you’d be amazed at how competitive Cub and Ogle’s are with Walmart. Also keep in mind the gas stations as someone else pointed out. Jack’s BP, Nuch’s, Davis and River Road Market are all locally owned and Nuch’s offers cash/check discounts. S & S Meats/gas station is also locally owned and their shop is amazing and almost always cheaper than Walmarts meats. Maybe some of these places aren’t as convenient as Holiday or Walmart but it’s one more meal in their families mouth, possibly cheaper for you and one less vacant building.
    There are changes that need to be made in this area and those that have the power should do so.

    Like

    1. Lynn

      Nuch’s Corner is awesome.
      Love your ideas Todd.
      But why would any of those businesses want to move to Grand Rapids if it would be cheaper to do so in Cohasset?
      The forest history Center has different family events almost every weekend.
      While the idea of using the old Pro Build building is awesome I disagree with the city paying for it.
      There is no more $$$
      All that would mean is tax increases for the people.
      The have been coughing up $$ they don’t have for years, grabbing bonds when they can and matching them (with taxpayers $$$)!!
      Now the city has major debt!
      Debt is not good.

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    1. By whom? None of these people and most of these micky mouse boards are nothing but wanna be’s would be’s and has beens looking for full filament in their own mediocre lives. Let’s have another ribbon cutting like we did at the old Ainsworth announcing we are tearing down another building. Who else does this? I’d like to see the total of the tax abatements, IRRRB money county and city money poured into this project and the iedc involvement and I think you will have the answer to the majority of your problems. Where are my scissors I hear another business is going down and I want make the ribbon cutting.

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  9. Jackie

    That must be it. The powers that be are deliberately shutting out new business, and shopping online really helps the existing businesses.
    Any of you ever take the time to actually talk to the city officials ? I think they are very open to any questions you may have .

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    1. Lynn

      You want a Khols and Menards but they don’t pay well either.
      Personally I don’t think bringing in more box stores is going to help the problem.
      Plus they don’t want to come here because they’d get taxed higher in Grand Rapids.
      It’d be cheaper for them to open in Cohasset or somewhere out of the city.
      Big businesses can afford to pay those higher taxes but it kills the small business owners.
      Our whole county needs a reality check on balancing a budget and wasteful spending.
      We the people who live here aren’t bottomless pits of $$$.

      Like

      1. Jerry Knutson

        That is right the county and city need a reality check, but why do they care. City and county officials don’t care about your problems as a business owner or home owner or weather or not you survive. Their pay check stays the same so they could care less, and as a bonus, less for them to do. My business has suffered bad from the fact of bad economy, higher taxes and street parking taken away. Some have it worst, I at least have a few parking spots in the back of my business. I believe city cares more about flower baskets hanging on light poles and banner signs hanging across the deserted streets. Soon their will be more vacant businesses along 4th street and others.. Thank You

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Carole LaGrange

    We moved away from the area because, in general, people were not friendly – – even customer service people (except the nice guys at the feed store). We did find “Minnesota Nice” AWAY from there! And it’s not just us! We’ve heard the same thing from others who have moved from that area, and even some who grew up there!

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  11. James Madden

    It’s Walmart hate to say it I shop their. Money is money when you are trying to stretch it to make ends meet. Maybe less taxes for the the small businesses people I don’t know the whole answer. The gas stations in this town are lucky that Walmart didn’t put pumps in or wasn’t allowed just saying .10 cents more all the time what a joke.

    Like

    1. Heather Kral

      So maybe we should have the motto “Shop Walmart last”
      Instead of shop Grand Rapids last.
      And I agree we need good paying jobs.
      Looking forward to reading more opinions.

      Like

  12. Shannon H

    The city has no new business coming in because they will not let any new business in. I was so excited that we were going to get a Menards store but that idea was canned because of the stupid city government. I heard we were getting a Kohls store, no more word on that! The area economy is awful with terrible minimum wage jobs, for this reason I shop very very little in Grand Rapids and do 99% of my shopping online. I can shop just about any store I want. This includes groceries with Amazon Pantry and Jet.com. Because I’m so disgusted with the city not letting new business in my motto is “Shop Grand Rapids Last”. Oh, and about Grand Rapids proposing a city tax, I have to laugh we don’t need your stores. I’m been teaching a few people how to shop online and I’m sure it will spread. Also the city should work on industry, not customer service jobs.

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    1. Lynn

      You want a Khols and Menards but they don’t pay well either.
      Personally I don’t think bringing in more box stores is going to help the problem.
      Plus they don’t want to come here because they’d get taxed higher in Grand Rapids.
      It’d be cheaper for them to open in Cohasset or somewhere out of the city.
      Big businesses can afford to pay those higher taxes but it kills the small business owners.
      Our whole county needs a reality check on balancing a budget and wasteful spending.
      We the people who live here aren’t bottomless pits of $$$.

      Like

    2. Lynn

      It doesn’t really make sense to think shopping online will help our economy with all the minimum wage jobs.
      You think the people packing our Amazon boxes make any more?

      Like

  13. Joe Shmoe

    I believe we have only to look at our bond rating as a city, which is poor, the large number of nonprofits concentrated here all continually looking for tax breaks and free property in the name of economic development and the vendors influencing the city and county officials to start projects they can’t afford like rain gardens, roundabouts, bike trails and high priced studies. Is a walking bridge really a must right now? Who really profits from these things. Is the reason Bemidji does so well is they use mostly a different engineering firm than GR and don’t get all their in house department heads from that firm? It is sad how fast property values are dropping here, perhaps we need more social pograms, a few more tax free zones and a few more advisory boards to relieve the elected officials of any responsibility for this mess.

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  14. karen burthwick

    It is called cause and effect!

    Tourism plays a part but this area needs more than tourism. Large Box Stores play a role in taking customers away from small business as they can price lower. There are other causes. Reliance on mining plays a larger role.The mining economy is now in dire straits due to “dumping” of cheap foreign steel. Legal loopholes in Federal Law and unfavorable trade deals allowing “dumping” need to be changed to prevent this. After all the investment and work that went into Essar, it is literally at a stand still. Magnetation is in Bankruptcy reorganization proceedings and mines across the range are laying off workers. Paper mills are closing lowering the demand for timber harvests, so why do we continue to allow the “dumping” of cheap foreign paper products?

    For years this country allowed the exodus of the manufacturing base and other business to foreign countries in a “Race to the bottom”, in search of cheap labor. We will lose more yet if the Trans Pacific Partnership passes congress as that will take what little is left. Making it easy for business to leave has taken away the good paying jobs that made this country great. Such eroded the tax base, both property and income upon which communities rely for public services. It is having an adverse effect on all local communities including Grand Rapids and surrounding communities. Someone forgot that it is was the good paying jobs that allowed citizens to spend money in the businesses now closed.
    We have given away our children’s future, this generation allowed this to happen. Who profited? The top 1-2 % and corporations. Not our small local business community for the most part. They are closing.

    Some would say we are in a world economy today and it is necessary. We were always in a world economy and we used to export, had a manufacturing base, paid living wages, benefits and pensions, our agriculture economy (small farm families) with horses and steam tractors fed the world. Now we cannot even feed our own. We are left with an economy largely dependent upon business that cannot be transported out of the country like hospitals, dentist offices, public works, law enforcement, non-profit service based business, etc. We used to put this country and its citizens first not last.

    This is the bigger picture, the trend has not helped the Good Ole’ USA. We can turn things around, but it will take a change of direction and attitude.

    Locally there are other cause and effects. Leaving that for another time. Interested in others comments.

    Like

  15. The problem IS tourism,,they are relatively low paying. Decent paying jobs are in manufacturing sold goods and those people buy all kinds of products. Iasca County is turning into a tourism wasteland for the well to do to play in.

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    1. Bob Barton

      Perhaps the most ignorant statement made so far. We aren’t paying people to come here. They pay us and those dollars flow back into our area. That’s how local economies work. It would be great if we had a good manufacturing base but we don’t and it’s not tourism’s fault. Calling you area a tourism wasteland is just meaningless rhetoric.

      Like

  16. Heather Kral

    Why?!!
    I could go on and on…
    Walmart!!!!
    Shop there & you kill your other businesses.
    Its true!
    Look at the Hibbing Mall.
    Plus Walmart=more welfare.
    Also…families are just getting by, so not lots of $$$ for extras. There aren’t lots of great paying jobs.
    We live in an area with lots of welfare.
    If they wouldn’t have raised the fees on tabs for our vehicles etc. People would have more $.they have built more restaurants so its goona happen some will close. Its too expensive for people to eat out.
    Online shopping causes places to close.
    Older buildings aren’t bad! That is not why. We don’t need more $$ wasted on fancy pansy buildings.
    I think its stupid to dump more $ into tourism. This needs to be a place we can survive not depending on the city people to come up here.

    Like

      1. Heather Kral

        If individual businesses choose to focus on tourism fine but not with our taxpayers $ helping it along.
        We have already wasted lots of $$$:on the beautification of Grand Rapids, public $$$ dumped into Pokegama Golf Course etc saying it helps tourism.
        Its actually just hurt the people.
        So what exactly do you mean by focusing on tourism?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Heather Kral

        That’s great you spend $ locally & tourism supports you.
        So you should keepbadvertising.
        But the community shouldn’t pay to bring tourism to you with their tax $.
        That’s all I was getting at.
        We need to help people here too. With year round good jobs.
        How many people do you employ & do they earn a liveable wage to support a family. Just want people to realize the People of Itasca County are hurting financially compared to even 15 years ago. So that causes businesses to close too. Everyone is pinching pennies.

        Like

  17. Dan Chase

    It looks to me like the law of unintended consequences can be demonstrated to be in effect here. The local governmental promotion of commerce in the area has actually had the opposite results. By trying to make the area more attractive to tourism the costs of promotions and beautification projects have placed a heavier and heavier cost of doing business on local merchants, to the point where they no longer make a profit doing business here. Please remember most businesses exist to make a profit for the business owners. They do not exist to supply government with a revenue stream.

    Like

    1. Bob Barton

      Well, tourism is arguably the largest industry in the county right now. It would make sense to invest in trying to bring more tourists into the area. Virtually all local businesses benefit in some way from tourism.

      Like

      1. Bob Barton

        You can give me all the thumbs down you want but you cannot factually dispute the number of dollars brought into this community and the surrounding area by tourism. Talk to virtually any retail or restaurant business owner and they will tell you (if they take the time to learn where their business comes from) that tourism has a major impact on their bottom line. I own a resort and we spend our money locally whenever possible.

        Here’s a partial list:
        Fuel – Davis Oil
        Bait – River Rat Bait
        Propane – Ferrellgas
        Building Supplies – Cohasset Lumber, Deer River Lumber, Home Depot, L&M Supply.
        Maintenance supplies – L&M Supply, Burgraff, Coles and Jurvelin Hardware, Home Depot.
        Furniture – Lake Country Furniture, Bahrs Furniture.
        Car Repair – Tires Plus

        I could go on and on but the point is that I didn’t print the money I spend supporting our local businesses. It came from tourism. Every single nickle of it and I am only one of many resorts in the county doing the same thing. Those same tourism dollars also pay our employees and the employees of every business we do business with. You don’t like tourism? Okay, it’s your right to be righteously uninformed but without it you can roll up the streets of Grand Rapids and the rest of the county. Don’t believe me? Go talk to a business owner.

        Like

  18. Bob Barton

    I believe it is a combination of factors. The first is that the economy is not as strong as the goverment would like us to believe, particularly here in Itasca County. Secondly, many of these buildings are functionally obsolete (defined as having inferior locations, lacking amenities found in newer buildings and an overall lack of curb appeal) and far past their prime as evidenced by the fact that several of the previous occupants have built new facilities. Also, competition from big box retailers and national franchises has forced some businesses out of the market. Add in the shift in the prime retail area further south on Pokegama Avenue and you begin to understand why the “traditional” business areas have a perceived higher vacancy rate. Grand Rapids is experiencing what many cities with an older commercial building stock experience when faced with advent of big box retailers and an influx of national retail chains.

    Like

  19. Jerry Knutson

    It seems that city and county goverment keep spending away as usual and if the coffers get low RAISE THE DAMM TAXES, It seems they think the public is stupid and are a bottemless pit for more money.. You would think that they would try to help business more, not take away their parking, raise their taxes which forces them to lay off workers.. The list of business that have went out of business will only get longer. I watch them put up these signs across the road about First Friday Art Walk Downtown Grand Rapids.. Where is downtown Grand Rapids certainly you wont have parking problems there since the business have closed. Why don’t city and county try something new like stop spending.

    Like

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