GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Across from Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of Grand Rapids, a new candy store is taking shape.
West Michigan’s First Macaron French pastries store arrives at 132 Monroe Center NW, which was previously housed The Dog Pit.
Owners Bobbi Jo and William Blanton had long been talking about starting a business, but couldn’t come up with a concept until Bobbi spotted an ad touting Le Macaron as one of the best women-owned franchises in the United States. , store manager Megan McCurdy mentioned.
The easiest question to answer was where to open.
“They just wanted to be part of the downtown community. They love the area so much. In fact, the location itself just sold them. They wanted to find something in downtown Grand Rapids and the available space right across from Rosa Parks Circle. It was just icing on the cake,” McCurdy said.
WHAT IS ON THE MENU
True to its name, Le Macaron offers 24 flavors of macarons, from the more traditional Madagascar dark vanilla, Belgian chocolate and red velvet to more experimental flavors like bubblegum, rose, white chocolate with basil and pistachio. McCurdy says the dairy-free Mango Raspberry Macarons stand out.
Le Macaron also offers seasonal and holiday macaroons for Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th and Christmas.
Each macaron features an outer shell made with egg whites, almond flour and sugar in a Florida confectionery. McCurdy says the middle is like a sweet merengue filling.
“Our macarons are superb,” McCurdy said. “(The owners) love macarons and this is by far one of the best they’ve ever tried.”
Le Macaron will also serve eclairs, croissants, Napoleon cake, pies, fine chocolates, French ice cream, Italian coffee and espresso. Prices are not yet fixed.
“We try to get a sense of the region, what we think our customers would like, and based on our product, what we think is appropriate,” McCurdy explained.
She says the goal is to be open early in the morning, giving downtown Grand Rapids a much-needed breakfast option.
“They can step in and have a French pastry, a good espresso coffee. We strive to be open at 7 a.m. and then we will be open hopefully until 9 (or) 10 p.m.,” she said.
Le Macaron will also serve as a caterer. McCurdy says brides who have spotted the business at recent shows are already contacting them with potential commissions.
OPENING WITH INCLUSIVITY
The Blantons, who volunteered and helped lead the West Michigan Down Syndrome Associationplan to hire people with disabilities to run the store.
“One of their favorite values from DSAWM is inclusion, so just being included in the environment and this community. And I think bringing that to the store was a main focus for the type of business they wanted have,” McCurdy said.
She expects the shop to employ 20 or more people on a part-time basis, with shorter shifts to accommodate workers with disabilities. McCurdy says the updated store will also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in terms of accessibility.
“Grand Rapids is a beautiful place. We just want to open our doors to everyone,” she said.
Construction of the Macaron began in December. McCurdy says Grand Rapids-based contractor Carbon Six is making plenty of changes to the interior, which will be “nice, pink, pretty vibrant, clean” when complete. The store will seat 30-40 people indoors with plans for outdoor seating as well.
If all goes well, the owners hope to open Le Macaron at the end of April.
“It’s pretty awesome,” McCurdy said. “Every day we wake up and just strive to be the best and we get closer every day and it’s so nice to see the progress.”
Macaron fans can get updates on the opening by following Macaron Grand Rapids on Facebook.