The market of Grand Rapids, with its new opportunities to take different cooking and wellness classes, along with the rich culture each permanent vendor brings to the market, is truly a special new piece to add to the social life of downtown Grand Rapids.
The market, on 435 Ionia Ave., opened up their indoor venue at the end of August. Inside, the market features 24 indoor vendors, ranging from a cupcake shop to a fish market. It was a $28 million project to develop the market in GR over the last year.
“The point of the cooking classes are to show how one can go and buy their groceries at the market, and then go home and cook an entire meal off of that,” said Shannon Sadoski, the education coordinator of the market.
Since all ingredients used in the classes are from the market, this means that there are no processed ingredients. The market tenants are the instructors, and the prices of the classes start at $55. Scholarships are available for students based on financial need.
Lots of market research was done before the indoor market was built. The Market planners studied The North Market in Columbus, Ohio as an example for the idea behind what this market was to become. They want to bring in a lot of tourism with this market, so in a way they are trying to create a Grand Rapids destination market.
As a part of the wellness program, there are yoga classes offered there as well. “The point is not to just focus on the food of the market, but overall on healthy living through a variety of different things, such as gardening and the different classes offered,” Sadoski said.
The Downtown Market has created more possible employment opportunities for college students, and plans are underway to create small business internship opportunities.
“We are trying to get different programs going with schools,” said Sadoski. “From elementary school field trips, where the kids learn how to cook a meal, to where college students get the opportunity to get to have an internship to actually work with the market.”
“Just going and talking to the vendors can be a huge learning experience for any student who wants to own a small business someday,” Sadoski said about the best way for college students to take advantage of the market.
And those who aspire to launching their own food related business may be interested in checking out the incubator kitchens that can be rented out to small business owners looking to prep food items, or just to cater for a specific event and need the space for a given period of time.
The market also offers entertainment at both the indoor and outdoor venues. Right now the main open space downstairs in the indoor market is in transition, and eventually will become a part of a restaurant. Since it is so new to the city this year, they are not going to be having any pieces of ArtPrize on display inside or outside of the market, but it is definitely a possibility for the future.
Ultimately, the main goal of the indoor portion of the market is to combine locally grown foods with education. “The idea is to show how a building can simply support community, social gatherings, growing, sustainability and education, all wrapped into one,” Sadoski said.
The indoor portion of the market is open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m – 7 p.m. on Sundays. The outdoor market is open from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1p.m.
Find out more information at: downtownmarketgr.com