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How About A ‘Dutch Oven’?

Great baked goods, fresh coffee, all within walking distance from where you work. Would you visit? (Artwork: Dan Stevens)

I can recall in downtown Detroit, in the business district there being a great place where I could go to grab a breakfast muffin, a good cup of coffee and a copy of the Free Press.  How would downtown Grand Rapids utilize a place like that?

The best part was that it was within walking distance to and from my radio station and most of the large, multi-floor office buildings.  It just seemed like a great place.  Awesome pastries, the day’s paper and if there was such a thing as wi-fi at the time, I’m sure they would have it available to the customers they were attracting, which were mostly business professionals.

As I am now working here in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids, I see a good number of very cool shops in “Center City”, such as the Hot Dog Pit, a Pita place next door, Madcap Coffee down on the corner as well as several top-notch restaurants nearby.  My Wife and I were talking the other day, as she too just started working in one of the multi-floor high rises here downtown, about a place like I described above in Detroit.  A place open early where folks could stop in before work, grab a breakfast muffin, maybe a fresh pastry with their cup of java, pick up a copy of the GR Press or Wall Street Journal, a good wi-fi connection for a laptop or iPad if need be and maybe a fresh scone “to go” before they walked a block to their respective offices, somewhere between the parking decks & the building they are headed.  Is there a place like this in the GR City Center?  Or do we need one?

While watching television a couple of weeks ago and smelling the aroma of baked goods from our kitchen , I jokingly said to my Wife, Stacey, “you should open a good bakery and call it “Stacey’s Dutch Oven”, since she is VERY Dutch and she absolutely loves to bake more than anything.  At first she laughed and said to stop picking on her, because at the time I was.  After a few minutes, I said, “no really, we should open a bakery right downtown where all the suits with briefcases roam.”  I then recited the details of the place in downtown Detroit I used to frequent.  She said that she would love to open a bakery.  I insisted we call it, “Stacey’s Dutch Oven”, and I received “the stare” once again.  I once again insisted that it is a catchy name and it would me marketable.  I mean, her maiden name is as Dutch as it gets, VanAntwerp.  I could see her reception of this vision I was having gaining a smile right along with me.  So we proceeded to research small business loans, demographics, locations, etc.  Really, whats a better definition of the American dream than opening your own business doing something you love and being your own boss?  Two weeks and it hasn’t come up.  Then this morning while we were on our way to our jobs here downtown she said, “I would love to stop somewhere and grab a hot coffee & something lite to eat before I go in.”  So, obviously that lead to our little business idea again.

The point I am getting to is… I am wondering is if there is a market for something like this here downtown.

Lets start a conversation now.  Would this work or not?  What do you think?  I would love any input you may have.

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