One afternoon I decided to get out of the office and explore downtown Grand Rapids. I passed by a newly constructed building surrounded by large glass windows. I had seen many cars pulling in and out, but I never knew what was inside. The sign on the outside of the building was “Downtown Market.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but this afternoon, I was feeling adventurous.
One step through the door and I knew that I was in my element. The smell of entrepreneurial spirit was in the air. Then again, it may have been the delightful aroma coming from Sweetie-Licious Bake Shoppe. A few more steps in and I could finally see what “Downtown Market” really represented.

They call it a market, but to me, it’s more than that. It’s a small business community. I feel like I’m walking through a small civilization or a modern street market that you may find overseas.

I continued my walk over to a full service Mexican restaurant called Tacos el Cuñado, who sources many of their ingredients from Michigan. They rotate dishes typically popular in Costa Rica and other Central and South American countries.

Behind me I turned to find a young lady passing out samples of a green concoction. I proceeded over to strike up a conversation, learning that this bar had a name, “Malamiah Juice Bar.” Being in the health and wellness industry, I inquired about the nutritional information. She was already two steps ahead of me. I was presented with a sheet covering all the nutritional facts for her delicious fruit smoothies.

The further I ventured in, the more impressive this market became. Across the way a man was unloading a host of baguettes from a tray onto a large rack. “Field & Fire Bakery,” the sign said. This bakery, owned by Shelby Kibler, seemed unique to me. I learned that Shelby takes artisan baking back to its roots, with whole grains, longer fermentation processes, and a deep connection to the farmers who provide him with his ingredients. The baguette I purchased had a unique crisp on the outer crust, just enough to let me know that I purchased an excellent piece of bread. With a quality slice of cheese from Aperitivo (also in the market) I was all set!

I couldn’t possibly conceive what else could be fit into this market! But there it was. A selection of fine meets eloquently presented in a case at Montello Meat Market. Montello’s display was directly followed by some of the freshest fish laying on ice at Fish Lads. On my way out, I made a note to stop at a store that carries one of my favorite healthy snacks. This store is called City Produce and carries some of my much-loved dried fruits and vegetables. They also carry other various farm fresh produce (sourced locally if possible of course).

I encourage you to stop in and see many of the other stores located within the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. Share your Downtown Market experience with me in the comment section below!

Grand Rapids Downtwon Market hours and location: Here

Blog Post by Kyle Johnson, Owner, Personal Fitness Agent at Professional Fitness Consulting

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