How Grand Rapids’ abandoned gas stations got their groove back

Business owners throughout Grand Rapids are increasingly turning to old and abandoned gas stations to open restaurants, shops and firms in growing business districts. 

Adam Mikrut, co-owner of the creative services firm Keen Studios, says when he and his business partner first set out to find office space in downtown Grand Rapids, he never envisioned winding up with an old auto service station.

“[We] were looking at all kinds of different office locations downtown, spaces that were around 2,400 square feet or so,” says Mikrut, who shifted gears after receiving an email from his cousin, James, about a vacant property he had on the market for remodel.

“…[James] happens to own this little gas station we’re in, and a little while back he emailed me and said, ‘You sure you don’t want a 1,200-square-foot gas station? I got this crappy building on my property, and no one is doing anything with it right now.’”

Mikrut had to replace the roof of the old auto garage, alongside all of the boarded-up windows, degraded overhead door fixtures, and electrical infrastructure at 500 Stocking Ave. NW. However, now just just a few short months away from completing renovations on the space, Mikrut says he couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.
Keen StudiosHe says he sees a lot of potential in the unique layout of the building, which lends itself to a creative use of indoor-outdoor space made possible by the two big garage doors that open up all of the way to the…

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