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Big Boy Opens and Closes in Kentwood, While Others Remain in Business

Renee Silverman

(Ed. Note. Second in a series)

Although Grand Rapids is a growing, vibrant city of national acclaim and newfound business desire, some existing haunts in the city are drying up.

For all the H&Ms, Cabella’s and Five Guys, there are other older franchises struggling to stay afloat.

This is a look at some national and regional chains that are leaving the market, in some cases, completely.

Big Boy has it’s share of ups and downs over the years. From a chain high of 1,000 restaurants in the 1970s, the company has shrunk to a smaller version of it’s former self.

With a unique history of regional franchises, the company was bought by former radio station owner Bob Liggett in 2000. (A side note: I worked for Liggett Broadcasting in the early ’90s-and WFGR‘s sister station Channel 95.7 was once owned by Liggett Broadcasting)

Formerly Elias Brothers Big Boy, the company is based out of Warren. And in fall 2010, a Big Boy opened in Kentwood on 28th Street SE.

Now, about three years later, it is closed.

I’m not a big fan of writing about store openings and closings. I have to say I am pretty bummed. I like Big Boy, and that was a nice location.

Now there are two left in the Grand Rapids area — in downtown Grand Rapids and Wyoming — along with Big Boys in Cedar Springs, Ionia, Greenville and Wayland. There aren’t any left along the Lakeshore or in the Kalamazoo area. Sad.

Next: What’s the Donk?

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