Coming up this week: the all-new Rooftop Couture fashion event, the World's Largest Dog Wash, an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for largest swing dance, the Michigan Pirate Festival and more.
Kristian Grant, owner and founder of Sydney’s Boutique, is a woman on the move. A compassionate woman with an eye for style, she began her career working in the non-profit/community development sector at both the United Way and the Dorothy B. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at GVSU. “I’ve never worked a retail job in my life,” says Kristian, “but I’ve always considered fashion to be universal, it has become my passion.”
Two years ago Kristian began thinking about the growing fashion industry in West Michigan and wanted to make her mark. Sydney’s Boutique opened to an eager customer base in October 2011 and she hasn’t looked back since. “My family always says that when I get an idea I run with it,” says Kristian, “I’m a very driven person.”
More specific details about the project to restore the Grand River's downtown rapids have been released. The non-profit Grand Rapids WhiteWater (GRWW) group has been working with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to determine the feasibility of removing or modifying five man-made dams between the Sixth Street Bridge and Wealthy Street in order to restore the area to its more natural, original state.
GRWW hired Colorado-based RiverRestoration to complete Phase I of the feasibility study and the results were presented at today's DDA meeting. The group found that benefits from a restoration would include a 500% increase in fish holding habitat, the propagation of 100,000 mussels, space for an International Canoe Federation slalom course, one adjustable whitewater surfing wave and room for six to eight lanes for rowing competitions.
Doug and Paul Lee’s dramatic transformation of a long-vacant, 157-year-old building on Cascade Road SE into the gleaming new Jam ’n’ Bean coffeehouse with an elevated, outdoor concert deck seems impressive in its own right.
But the brothers’ mission for the cafe and 200-seat “Cascade on the Boardwalk” entertainment deck may be just as extraordinary: 10 percent of proceeds from Jam ’n’ Bean go to support the Forest Hills Central Band Boosters to help bolster struggling school band programs.
And just as important, the coffeehouse and 3,000-square-foot deck have become a rallying point of sorts for the Forest Hills community, with young high school rock bands joining other local musicians in getting a chance to strut their stuff for audiences, often for the first time.
“People are star-struck by it,” co-owner Doug Lee says of the lighted deck and stage, which officially opened in June behind the coffeehouse at 6860 Cascade Road SE, just south of Old 28th Street SE. “It’s sort of re-generated and revitalized things. … It’s a beautiful environment in the woods.”
Balwinder Bal, owner of Radix Tavern and Bombay Cuisine, has gone back to his roots, both literally and figuratively. A food man at heart, Bal has transformed the Bombay adjacent Queen’s Pub into a new concept – the Radix Tavern. Radix, a southern-style eatery whose name means “root” in Latin, celebrates its grand opening August 3 and 4. It will focus more on farm fresh food, while still offering craft beer and cocktails with a southern twist.