New Businesses Flourish in Creston NeighborhoodBy Jane Whitttington on September 29th, 2016 /
The Creston neighborhood, just North of downtown Grand Rapids, is enjoying a renaissance. Storefronts that have been vacant for years are filling with new ventures as entrepreneurs take advantage of the revitalization taking place in the area.
One such entrepreneur is Kelly Fitzgerald, a licensed massage therapist, who is owner and operator of Spa Nirvana. Although already open for business, Spa Nirvana has a few more tweaks before the grand opening later in September. Fitzgerald has been a massage therapist for over 17 years, but this is her first foray into business ownership.
According to Fitzgerald, “I have two other massage therapists working with me, and we offer deep tissue or sports massage, prenatal and postnatal massage and therapeutic massage. We’re in the process of installing ashiatsu bars which will allow us to do massage incorporating back walking and stretching. We also offer Dead Sea Salt facials, thermal scrubs and other treatments.”
She continues, “We will be installing two sauna rooms and two showers before our grand opening. We have five treatment rooms, including one for couples’ massage. Each of the rooms has a separate theme including India, Bali and Africa. We also have a class room; we may use that for classes, yoga, cooking or other uses. I am a certified nutrition counselor so I hope to include that in my practice.”
The reception space and waiting room is painted and decorated in tones of blue creating a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. The furniture and décor is from Stonesthrow, a locally owned and operated furniture store not far from the spa.
Fitzgerald received backing from a long-time client who used her services to recover from cancer treatment. She says, “He and his wife invested in my new business not in any hopes of getting rich, but just to show their gratitude for what I had done for them. In turn, they have asked me to ‘pay it forward’ through my business. We have already hosted several benefits, and we are always open to helping causes in the community.”
Fitzgerald adds, “This neighborhood is really on the upswing. Besides the new businesses going in, 616 Development will soon begin building high rise apartment buildings here, including one right across the street.”
Spa Nirvana’s Facebook page is at /www.facebook.com/spanirvanagrs
Creston Brewery has only been open since August, but it is already enjoying a steady stream of customers eager to try the new artisan brews and a menu that features affordable luxury with a Latin flair.
According to manager Jarrod Napierkowski, owners Vince Lambert and Cailin Kelly and Scott and Molly Bouwsma-Schultz have been working on their idea for a neighborhood micro-brewery and restaurant since 2014.
Napierkowski says, “When they saw this place, they knew it would be perfect for their brewery. It has lots of space and is in an up and coming neighborhood close to downtown.”
Creston Brewery occupies a building previously used by an optical company. Before that, it was DeKornes’s Furniture, which closed some 20 years ago. The building was empty when the new owners first looked at it, but it was basically in good shape and many original details had been preserved. Heart pine floors, tin ceilings and tile work in the entrance were intact. The space has proven large enough to include a beautifully appointed restaurant, bar and brewing space. Upstairs is an open area which is being renovated with a view toward using it as an event space. Local artists are represented, and a special Creston Brewery mural takes up most of one wall.
Napierkowski says, “Scott Schultz is our brewer; he worked for many years at Founders and has come up with a line of beer that is proving very popular. Ingredients for both the beer and the food is as local as possible, and reflects the commitment to local farms and businesses. Our chef, Dan Cook, has recently worked at Mangiamo’s and has come up with a really interesting and yet affordable menu.”
The brewery is open for lunch or dinner. With food that is fast, local and healthy, and beer that is interesting and innovative, Creston Brewery is sure to be a favorite for customers from the neighborhood and beyond.
Their website is www.crestonbrewery.com
Little Lucy’s is a triple treat. It includes not only a bakery and breakfast and lunch restaurant but also a bistro open for dinner. The dinner space is called Brighton Graye’s Bistro to differentiate it from Little Lucy’s. Owners Larry Zeiser and Brian Giampapa also own and operate three other popular restaurants, Graydon’s Crossing, Derby Station, and Logan’s Alley.
What used to be a grocery store has been transformed into an inviting and friendly space with outdoor seating and an urban vibe. The building’s original art deco features add to the ambiance.
Zeiser says, “We talked with the neighborhood association and with the people in this area about what they wanted, what they were looking for in a neighborhood spot. We took it from there and put together a space and a menu that would appeal to a lot of people. What we offer is modern American food or what we call comfort food with a twist. We source locally and change our menus with the seasons. In the bistro we offer wine and craft cocktails. We’ve been busy, so we feel that we’ve created something special for this area.”
Their menu is unique with items like the Creston Scramble, which is potatoes, corned beef hash, redeye gravy, white cheddar and two eggs any style. They offer breakfast all day as well as sandwiches, salads, soups and hearty entrees.
These three new businesses along the Creston corridor add new vitality to the area, and it is well worth visiting this often overlooked part of Grand Rapids.