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Specialty market plots relocation
 
Carrettino Italian Market & Wine co-owners, Mary Maha Russo, left, John Russo and Greg Russo, celebrate their reloation plans with John Hugye and Pat Hugye, right, of Red Barn Theatre. Courtesy Carrettino Italian Market & Wine

 

A specialty market in Grand Rapids has picked the location for its new home outside of the city.

For four years, Carrettino Italian Market & Wine has served Grand Rapids as a purveyor of international fine wine, specialty food and beer.

But the family owned store, at 4301 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, said this month that it will be relocating to the Saugatuck-Douglas area.

The retailer plans to build and develop a store there by spring 2014.

The store simply wasn’t doing enough business, said CEO John Russo, who owns the store along with his wife, Mary Maha, and three children, Gina, Mike and Greg.

Carrettino’s location is also too small and sits at the back of the Towne & Country Shopping Center, making it not easily visible from the street, Russo said.

Russo said he has lived in Grand Rapids his whole life and certainly had mixed emotions about leaving, calling it a “very difficult” decision.

“Since all our employees are family, no one is losing their jobs,” Russo said. “But we will be hiring more with the new store. I will know more, but we haven’t made full decision mapping out staffing requirements.”

Lakeshore market

“We have a good customer base there” in Saugatuck-Douglas, Russo said.

“In fact, our most profitable customers live in that area, and they’ve been driving to Grand Rapids to shop in our store, and they've been asking us for years to do something in that area,” Russo added.

The store will be located in Douglas, on Blue Star Highway, adjacent to the Blue Star Antique Pavilion and Saugatuck Brewing Co.

The family bought four acres of land at the spot and plans to build a larger facility, developed by Scott Geerlings of the Zeeland-based Geerlings Development Company.

The facility will also include a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes and events. Middleville-basedKitchens by Katie is set to design the kitchen.

“It’ll have more additional European and other Mediterranean selections,” Russo said. “It’s mainly going to be regional Italian products.”