Guest Blogger Tuesday: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

Grand Rapids is full of small giants – companies that are deeply rooted in our community and play a critical role in the fabric of who we are.

Brothers Leather Supply Company is one of those small giants. What started in the basement of Beth and Adam Kail’s home three years ago is now a storefront business in the heart of our city.

It’s a place where I got my treasured journal and a place to find heartfelt, unique gifts. But it’s more than that – it’s a place that employs our neighbors, embraces our community and plays an important role in our local ecosystem.

It’s also a place that adds to our city’s rich history of entrepreneurism. Beth and Adam had a dream, took a risk and worked hard to grow their business. This is exactly what we want – and need – in our city.

In my State of the City address last year, I said I wanted Grand Rapids to be the best place for businesses and a place where entrepreneurs were supported and could successfully start and grow a business. Brothers Leather is a shining example of our community’s commitment to that charge.  

Fast forward to my 2017 State of the City address during which I announced the GR Local Challenge campaign. This initiative – in partnership with Local First – encourages Grand Rapidians to not only support local businesses but to make it a habit.

We know that the decision to buy something in our neighborhoods may seem small, yet it has a real positive impact on our community and our goals: a strong economy, a vibrant community, equality and a rich quality of life. This small choice, when multiplied again and again, makes a significant difference.

One month into this initiative, we are seeing on social media that our community is embracing #GRLocalChallenge. It is my hope that Brothers Leather and all the other great local businesses in our city gain new customers who become frequent and lifelong patrons.

Through this campaign, we will support our neighbors and strengthen our local economy – and, in the case of Brothers Leather, invest in a company doing good things in our community and get some really great leather items along the way.

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