GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Pochis Sweet Designs, an artisan dessert business founded by Paola Carlson, is coming to downtown Grand Rapids.
The business, which is expected to move into the former Menna’s joint location at 44 Ionia Ave SW, was awarded $51,199 in incentives Wednesday by the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority.
These incentives consisted of $32,813 for a Retail Innovation Grant and $18,386 for a Downtown Improvement Grant.
The grants were recommended by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), an organization that oversees and manages DDA funding and development in the urban core.
Pochis Sweet Designs offers a variety of coffee, cakes, flowers and more, according to its website.
The business is seeking a 5-year lease for the space in partnership with Dwelling Place with two 5-year renewal options. According to Melvin Eldge, director of operations at DGRI, Pochi’s has invested $200,000 in upgraded kitchens and seating areas.
Jorge Gonzalez, director of Start Garden, which provides assistance to start-up businesses in West Michigan, said Carlson won a $5,000 grant from Start Garden in 2020 and a $100,000 grant from the organization last year. He said it distributes coffee products to 258 Meijer stores.
“She’s very excited,” Gonzalez said, speaking to the DDA on Wednesday on Carlson’s behalf. “She’s invested a lot of money in it.”
Carlson could not be reached Wednesday afternoon and it was not immediately clear when her store will be open.
Gonzalez said the store is “95% done.” He said it had hoped to be opened by ArtPrize last fall, but that the project has been delayed due to labor costs.
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