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Grand Rapids Chamber wants to bring former residents home through new initiative

Posted at 7:13 PM, Oct 06, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Chamber is hoping to bring West Michigan residents back to the city through a new initiative.

The Opportunity Awaits campaign highlights the benefits of living and working in the area, a news release said Tuesday.

Businesses and community leaders can also show how they’ve grown over the last few years – even in the face of a pandemic.

“West Michigan is known for its natural beauty, beer, art and friendly communities, but we’re so much more,” said Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “Our region has the fastest-growing economy in the United States and is home to over 130 international companies. We want those who have left to come home. This campaign is meant to provide those individuals with the tools and initiative to relocate successfully.”

The trend of leaving urban areas began before the pandemic, but has been exacerbated by it.

Opportunity Awaits focuses on individuals who grew up in the area and left to start their careers elsewhere.

Organizers hope to show that Grand Rapids offers big city amenities while maintaining a small-town feel.

“While we have issues that we need to work on, Grand Rapids is the place where we can continue to make a difference,” said Nelson Sanchez, COO of RoMan Manufacturing. “We can invite others here to help us shape a better future. We need them to continue the positive trajectory of this place we call home.”