GRAND RAPIDS — G.B. Russo & Son Ltd. expects to open a new downtown grocery store this summer.
The Grand Rapids-based specialty grocery retailer intends to open a 4,500-square-foot store in the ground-floor space of Plaza Towers at 241 West Fulton St. according to a statement.
The site was vacated earlier this year with the closure of a Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern location.
The grocer, which recently rebranded as Russo’s International Market, has deep ties to the city, with its original location opening in 1905 on Division Avenue in the downtown area.
“We always knew we would return to our roots and this second location will allow us to serve the downtown community as we once did 112 years ago,” President Phil Russo said in a statement.
The retailer cited the growth of downtown residential units as a key driver for its expansion from its existing location on 29th Street in southeast Grand Rapids.
“We realized the lack of offerings for downtown residents, and this gave us the opportunity to return to downtown Grand Rapids and serve the growing residential population,” Russo said in a statement.
Aside from offering specialty grocery items, the downtown Russo’s location will offer delivery service, curbside pickup and a restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Because the location along Fulton Street just east of the Grand River is zoned for a restaurant, the proposal will require permits and approvals from the city.
Urbanists have long been cited the need for a grocery store in the downtown market, but recent proposals have had varied success.
Grand Central Market LLC on Monroe Center Avenue NW expanded its grocery offerings last winter by moving its deli into a vacant space next door. Meanwhile, the developers of a proposed 3,500-square-foot market in vacant retail space at 38 Commerce Ave. scrapped their plans last summer, as MiBiz reported at the time.
Elsewhere, Walker-based Meijer Inc. plans a roughly 38,000-square-foot store along Bridge Street just west of downtown within a block of an existing Duthler’s Family Foods location.