Coming Soon: New Business in Kalamazoo

Heads are turning in every direction as Kalamazoo reveals new businesses, re-branding the city as a destination for emerging retailers and growing opportunities. Big names (like Costco) create hype along Kalamazoo’s border while diverse businesses stimulate growth downtown, creating depth for its progressive industries: healthcare, education, and the (locally glorified) craft-beer industry.
Many know it as “Car Dealers’ Row” while others are considering it to be this generation’s “New Retail Corridor.” Stadium Drive has been quietly picking up in the retail market for the last five to ten years, but is more recently getting noticed for its newest addition, Costco, a game changer for the Kalamazoo metropolitan area.
Stadium Drive alludes to a growing, stabilizing economy from its newest successors such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Garden Ridge, and its renowned stretch of growing and expanding car dealerships including new BMW and Nissan dealers. But in comparison, Costco will be a cutting-edge investment, calling more attention to a larger radius, signifying Stadium Drive as a destination point for consumers. “It’s just great for the economy…,” quoted by Aaron Zeigler, president of Zeigler Automotive Group in Kalamazoo. “All of the new building on Stadium Drive shows how many local business people believe in Kalamazoo,” adding “they are investing in Kalamazoo because they believe the economy is going strong and there’s going to continue to be growth in the city.” The $70M superstore will open doors November 2014, bringing at least 630 new jobs to the area.
Optimism spreads from Stadium Drive to the heart of downtown, where others believe that parallel projects by KVCC and WMU “could put the city of Kalamazoo “several steps ahead” of other Michigan communities looking to revitalize,” quoted Jeff Chamberlain, director of the community planning and development department for the City of Kalamazoo. Both Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University are taking two directions to fostering healthcare. KVCC and partners, Bronson Healthcare and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Systems (KCMHSAS), support the movement for food sustainability and wellness, forming a new campus and curriculum under KVCC that educates in sustainable food production, distribution, and preparation. “Our goal will be to impact the health of our communities by providing the next generation of culinary and agriculture leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to work at the intersection of health, environmental, and social concerns,” said KVCC President Marilyn Schlack. Downtown Kalamazoo makes room for another higher education institution, the new WMU School of Medicine, a collaboration formed by WMU and teaching hospitals, Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare. The WMed program’s $68M renovation and expansion project will welcome students in Fall 2014. KVCC’s $42M campus is slated to begin operations in Spring 2014 with initial course offerings becoming available during 2015, organizers say.
Kalamazoo’s craft-beer industry has already put the city on the map as one of the “Top 10 Beer Cities” by in 2012 and 2nd best “Beer City USA” by in 2013, and plans to preserve its title through upcoming expansion projects, involving a hometown original and Battle Creek-based newcomer. Bell’s Brewery of Kalamazoo anticipates future expansion to the Comstock Township brewhouse, continuing the $52M project initiated in April 2011. Bell’s also sharpens their game, debuting a new can design and recently claiming sponsorship for Kalamazoo Growlers baseball. Battle Creek-based Arcadia Brewing Company’s expansion plans are on the verge of completion for 2014 with anticipation to “triple its capacity” and “increase it six-fold.”
Continued efforts toward the development of Kalamazoo are due to a diverse collection of businesses, geographically and industrially, that reveal a combined investment of business and success in the city. A series of wealthy investment along Stadium Drive has created a new gateway to the urban core of Kalamazoo, creating a fruitful balance in the city’s economic growth and increased opportunity. For more information about areas of opportunity for your business in Kalamazoo or nearby, please contact us today.