“Media Loves Hardhats”
Written by Daltyn Little, CEO of GrandPR and PRSSA Member
With the grand opening of the Downtown Market, Grand Rapids was excited and intrigued by the new business opportunities within the four walls of the first gold LEED certified building in Grand Rapids. The overarching goal of the Downtown Market is to create a hub for the “production, distribution, marketing and education about local produce.” The Downtown Market is very eco-conscious, using practices to ensure their resources are used to the max—LED lighting, “crazy recycling,” and even the wood and materials from the old buildings were repurposed and used to create the framework of the new Downtown Market.
On Wednesday, September 17, CEO Mimi Fritz and public relations practitioner Brian Burch of Burch Partners, welcomed a group of PRSA members and local Grand Rapids professionals to discuss the opening of the Downtown Market in the fall of 2013. Through storytelling, they were able to create a reputation with the media for openness and sustainability, as well as a general appreciation and respect for local business.
Throughout the construction process, media was welcomed to different opportunities to tour the building and property, as well as speak with the leadership, entrepreneurs, and staff. This allowed for excitement to build around the idea of the Downtown Market, always tying everything back to the community and the incoming vendors. The media was able to interview incoming business vendors and share their individual stories with the community.
So much excitement was built up around the Downtown Market that it was actually opened in stages. Beginning with the outdoor space in the summer of 2013, weekly Farmers Market events began, resulting in even more media coverage and community engagement. Media was practically begging to see the progress on the inside of the building, and they were granted it—with hardhats, of course.
Opening day was Labor Day 2013, and staff was overwhelmed with the response from the community. The Downtown Market knew their public opening would be a big deal, but they didn’t know just how big. Welcoming 1,500-2,000 guests per hour and multiple media personnel, they maxed out at 30,000 guests walking through their doors in the first 24 hours. The grand opening included a thank-you ceremony for the donors, media coverage from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and even reached international news outlets. Throughout these openings, a total of 100 interviews were conducted, all with a positive tone.
The Downtown Market continues with positive results and high traffic, welcoming consumers to their vendors, students to cooking classes, and kids to camp throughout the year. They are constantly seeking new opportunities to create engaging events and opportunities for the local community. To learn more about the Downtown Market, visit www.downtownmarketgr.com.