"As a culture, we’ve gotten away from digging our fingers into the dirt," says Craig Koetsier. At Koetsier’s Greenhouse, co-owner Craig is trying to change that and remind people—particularly the next generation—how to work with the earth. "We’re kid-oriented," Craig says, describing his center's plethora of youth-friendly diversions such as crafts and train rides; their smorgasbord of children’s spring activities was even featured on FOX17.
When he was a child, Craig ferried flats of petunias and impatiens around the family greenhouse. Today, he and his brother are third-generation owners of the business, and their sister works with them at the 100,000-square foot greenhouse where visitors spy hanging plants, annuals, container gardens, and flowering shrubs, asking them where they see themselves in five years to asses if they're a good fit. Although the Koetsiers still coax blooms from traditional favorites such as geraniums, their greenhouse has thrived over the past century by keeping up with contemporary gardening trends and transforming its stock in coordination each season. In the autumn, families arrive to play amid mazes and inflatables and assess the structural integrity of pumpkins before outfitting them with wheels and hitching them to horses. When winter blows in, guests browse the center's pine boughs and live evergreens to decide which to take home and string with decorations.
At House This, keen-eyed staffers help outfit shoppers in distinctive apparel and jewelry and aid them in fulfilling their abodes’ decorative desires. Along with clothing from popular lines such as Hazel, Trinity, 1921 jeans, and Mystree, the shop stocks candles, lamps, mirrors, and furniture. Decorators can spruce up bare walls with framed artwork, prominently display an automobile’s smog-check certificate inside assorted picture frames ($23–$45), or prop up masterpieces in progress on iron easels ($10–$30).
Founded in 2005 by passionate aviator Eric Swanson, the high-flying adventures of EasyRotor Helicopter have enjoyed publicity from Rapid Growth Media as well as from fellow Michigander and recording artist Kid Rock, who hired the company to shoot aerial footage for a music video. EasyRotor's world-class R44 Raven chopper, manufactured by Robinson Helicopter Company, conveniently facilitates the company's tours and aerial services based out of Gerald R. Ford International Airport. As the helicopter slices through the air, views of Grand Rapids, its downtown, and passengers' own homes come into view. Noise-canceling headphones allow for both free-flowing conversation and unobstructed listening to the pilot's anecdotes on the sights below and the exploits of Leo da Vinci, the patron saint of helicopters.:m]]
Fruit Basket Flowerland’s 20 acres of nursery space contain beautiful hanging baskets, annuals, and perennials. The nursery has seen those perennials bloom dozens of times since it opened back in 1949, and today the business has blossomed out to three locations. Home gardeners can peruse a huge selection of soil, fertilizer, and plants, or sign up for instructive gardening classes, which teach participants to care for their plants and to exterminate weeds without running afoul of weeds-rights activists. Fruit Basket Flowerland also houses a vast selection of patio furniture and three lines of Weber grills.
Patrons of The Olive Store can peruse a selection of elegant bottles to hold pure extra-virgin olive oils, olive oils flavored with ingredients such as Meyer lemons or porcini mushrooms, and balsamic vinegars imported from Italy. The shop also stocks pasta, cooking spices, and even EVOO-infused personal care products such as shampoo and lotion.