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Neighborhood Business Alliance to celebrate 25 years of economic development

The 25th annual Neighborhood Business Awards will be presented by the Neighborhood Business Alliance on November 6 at Wealthy Theatre. Over 80 nominees across 14 different category are on the docket for this year's event.
2013 awards ceremony

2013 awards ceremony /Courtesy of Neighborhood Ventures

Underwriting support from:

Categories and nominees to be revealed Thursday

A full list of categories can be found at A list of the 2014 nominees will be up on Thursday, October 16. 

2013 awards ceremony

2013 awards ceremony /Courtesy of Neighborhood Ventures

2013 awards ceremony

2013 awards ceremony /Courtesy of Neighborhood Ventures

Written by Jessa Timmer
On Thursday, November 6, the Neighborhood Business Alliance will present its 25th year of the Neighborhood Business Awards at Wealthy Theatre. These awards are by far the longest running celebration of successful neighborhood economic development in Grand Rapids. Once a year, some 400 small-business community members and neighborhood stakeholders come together in recognition of their peers for the valuable contribution they make to the economic and social vitality of our traditional urban neighborhoods. This nod of support, with the affirmation of elected officials of the City of Grand Rapids, is always warmly received by award recipients and attendees alike.

This year, there are close to 90 nominees in 14 different categories along with a Grand Award for best-of in the past 12 months. Some of the categories include Outstanding New Business, Best Exterior Maintenance, Best Interior Renovation and the ever-popular Best Neighborhood Restaurant. A full list of categories can be found on the Neighborhood Ventures website. A list of the 2014 nominees will be up on Thursday, October 16. 

Nominations were submitted from all corners of the city this year, with many businesses being nominated in multiple categories. The Grand Award is presented to a business or project that could fit many of these categories and also serves as a catalyst for further development within a neighborhood business district. The Grand Award for 2013 was awarded to Rockford Construction for their investment and development within the Stockbridge Business District on the West Side of Grand Rapids. No doubt that project was a large investment from Rockford Construction and upheld the trend of businesses and people wanting to move back into the city center from the more suburban areas. 

It is always overwhelming to look at the list of businesses nominated for the Outstanding New Business category. While this category is typically pared down to about 20 nominations for great new neighborhood businesses or recent brick and mortar commitments to the neighborhood, there are many, many new businesses opening up every year. Many years, there are well over 50 new businesses within our business districts. In 2013, The Cakabakery was awarded the title of Outstanding New Business, and for good reason. The company invested in a vacant building in Eastown, the owners became engaged in the surrounding business and residential community and the remodel created a vibrant and exciting place for visitors and neighbors alike. It is with these types of businesses that our neighborhood business districts thrive and produce a unique sense of community. 

The event will begin with a Taste of our Neighborhoods Reception from 5:00-6:30 p.m. where guests may network with one another as they enjoy food samples from six of our amazing neighborhood restaurants. Mayor Heartwell is scheduled to preside over the presentation of awards from 6:30-8:00 p.m. with many other elected officials and City staff in attendance to congratulate the nominees and winners.

The presenting organization, the Neighborhood Business Alliance (NBA), is a collaboration of all 20 neighborhood business associations within the Grand Rapids city limits. The NBA strives to promote an open forum for information sharing and advocacy across business districts. Many small business owners meet quarterly to discuss policies and that affect their individual businesses as well as their business association.

This event is free and open to the public and I hope you join us!

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