Why Is Buffalo Jealous Of Grand Rapids?
There's a lot of things Buffalo, NY has to be proud of. They invented Buffalo wings, they have Weber's Mustard, and they have something called a 'Beef-On-Weck', which is a roast beef sandwich beyond compare.
So what do we have that they don't?
In a recent article, Buffalo Business First is impressed by the fact that Grand Rapids, which is about the same size has Buffalo, is kicking their butts in something called Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP), which is the total output of Goods and Services from a given metro area.
Grand Rapids is in the Top Ten in the nation in GMP, and that impressed the BBF web site because they share a lot of similarities with Grand Rapids, being that we're both Rust Belt cities that often play second fiddle to larger markets in out respective states.
There are several parallels between Grand Rapids and Buffalo. Both metros have slighly more than 1 million residents, both have industrial pasts, and both are in the Northeastern/Midwestern quadrant of the country.
The big difference is in their growth rates. Grand Rapids is expanding its economy four and a half times more rapidly -- four and a half times! -- than Buffalo is.
Which begs the question of why.
Officials in Grand Rapids have been asked that a lot, and their answers haven't been particularly satisfying. They talk about diversification and synergy and other terms that qualify as economic-development buzzwords. Perhaps they're as surprised (and unsure) as everybody else.
So a Buffalo resident recently posed this question to readers of the Grand Rapids sub-reddit on Reddit. And it turns out we are perplexed by our own growth.
While many thought it was the stability of big benefactors like the DeVos family and the Meijer family, Grand Rapids diverse econonmy and strong, youthful work force seems to be the reason many redditors came up with.
Demographic trends are helping Grand Rapids more than anything else in my opinion.
You have the trend of young people wanting to live in cities.
You have the re-urbanization of the city core/downtown areas.
Also... Grand Rapids is becoming seen as a premier Michigan city (even over Detroit in many cases).
He also feels the future's so bright, we may have to all get shades:
Another HUGE factor that hasn't been mentioned is that the Grand Rapids-Wyoming metropolitan area as of 2015 was the 52nd largest in the nation. A lot of major companies and investors won't move into a market that isn't top 50, it's not even on their radar. Grand Rapids pushing into the top 50 will/has created a surge in economic activity from businesses moving in, investment money coming in, higher salaries for the already-employed by major companies in the area, etc.
Now if we can only get an NFL or an NHL franchise.