PFE Blog

November 15, 2023

10 Years of City Building, Prepping for a World of Winter and Shopping Small

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) works with partners Downtown and throughout the community to create a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. This work is constant and ever evolving, and we’ve been at…
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November 2, 2023

Local First Workshop Recap: Conflict to Conversation

Raise your hand if you've ever been faced with conflict...Okay, now you can put it down. I'm confident in asking that because one of life's firm truths is that we are all faced with conflict…
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August 15, 2023

Supporting Local Businesses to Create a Vibrant & Welcoming Downtown

In 2018, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc (DGRI) launched the Retail Business Incubation Program to attract new businesses and begin filling out Downtown’s fledgling retail scene. Flashforward 5 years, 19 businesses and $534,000 later – DGRI…
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July 11, 2023

Close the Dark Store Loophole

How do we fix the damn roads with a persistent 3.9 billion funding gap each year? Or properly resource our public schools with a 4.5 billion funding gap each year? The answer is pretty unsexy…
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July 7, 2023

The Small Business Role in Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Whether your employees or customers know it: their prescription drug costs increased nearly 60% while their incomes increased about 11%. Even more troubling? About 32% of people of working age have had to stop taking…
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June 14, 2023

Local First Workshop Recap: Building Wealth & Impact in Your Small Business

Succession, exit, growth planning... These are plans that all business owners must navigate. With daily administrative and operational tasks easily consuming a full day's work, not knowing where to begin in these conversations leaves many…
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May 15, 2023

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the Constant Evolution of Placemaking and City Building

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) was created in 2013 with the goal of bringing several economic development tools and organizations under one roof (the GR Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Improvement District, and the Monroe…
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April 9, 2023

Local First Workshop Recap: Best Practices for Employee Wellness & Mental Health

It is essential for businesses of all sizes to support their staff, from the front lines to the C Suite; but the real question is how? It's no secret that small businesses are faced with…
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June 22, 2022

Get to know Northern Initiatives

Know Your Lender: Northern Initiatives Where do they work: All 83 counties in Michigan What they are: A CDFI! Huh? Northern Initiatives is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that focuses on providing loans when…
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January 3, 2022

6 Ways to Build Local & Sustainable Habits

If you've been following the Local First program for a while, you know we're all about creating opportunities to support local and amplify our membership base. It's these businesses that keep our money close to…
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