Chipotle Grill…Home of the Gourmet Burrito & More!

I’ve driven past the Chipotle Grill located on the south side of 28th Street in Grand Rapids, MI (just across the street from Arnies Restaurant & Bakery) many times, but finally decided to stop in today.  I had heard that the franchise placed great care and attention in providing great food and that they were passionate about working with local farm suppliers whenever possible.

The environment of the restaurant is contemporary and modern.  It was just before lunch rush hour and the seating area was approximately half full.  What was most impressive to me was that the wait staff behind the grill didn’t just assist me with the order, they also interspersed the dialog with information about how the animals which provided the meat were raised (humanely & without hormones, free range) and that their dairy products also had no additives.  In addition they indicated that they work with local suppliers for their produce and try to provide seasonal items whenever possible.

I carried out my order thinking about my experience….one which lasted perhaps 6-7 minutes.  I wasn’t leaving with just as Burrito, I was leaving with the knowledge of what had gone into that meal and the intention of the restaurant to serve food responsibly.  Within that 6-8 minutes, a line had gathered behind me, but the manager/staff indicated that they wanted to make sure that I understood what went into the food as this was my first time & didn’t rush the order to get me out of the way.

Later, I drove about 5 miles to a local orchard to pick up some dessert.  As I waited for my order, a couple of ladies stood behind me with stoic looks on their faces.  I could sense the manager was perturbed as he rushed to place my order and get on to the next customer.  This was interesting: I spent the same amount of time in each establishment, but the experience could not have been more profoundly different.

Some take-aways for life and business:

Always give your best to others…not just with words and advertising, but in intention and follow-through.  It makes a difference!

Know your stuff…important in serving food and always a must in serving people!

Strive to be fully present ~ a bird in hand is always worth 2 in the field.  Ignoring or rushing the customer you have is not prudent business.

Never miss an opportunity to share your story ~ I’ll never eat a burrito in quite the same way again.  And…BTW, it was delicious!

Here’s some information from  Chipolte Grill in Grand Rapids, MI in their own words:

“Food With Integrity” isn’t a marketing slogan. It’s not a product line of natural and organic foods. And it’s not a corporate initiative that will ever be finished or set aside to make room for other priorities. It’s a philosophy that we can always do better in terms of the food we buy. And when we say better, we mean better in every sense of the word- better tasting, coming from better sources, better for the environment, better for the animals, and better for the farmers who raise the animals and grow the produce.  (read more here)

3610 28th Street Southeast

Grand Rapids, MI 49512-1606

(616) 957-0690

Get directions

Average Home Prices in Grand Rapids, MI Show First Increase Since November 2009…

If the saga in the real estate market was a mystery novel, readers would be glued to the pages!  The article below is re-printed with permission from the Grand Rapids Realtor® Report, a monthly publication of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors®.
Winter has traditionally been a period in which sales declined due to weather, holidays etc.  But Grand Rapids experienced an upward trend as prices stabilized and inched upwards and inventory levels declined.  This was a welcome development from the steady upwards creeping of distress sales (short sales and foreclosures) that the market witnessed towards the end of 2009. Read more about recent developments from Association leaders for yourself!
Rain boots...spring is around the corner...The average single-family home sales prices rose 4.6% to $110,574, over January 2010 ($105,714), the first increase since November 2009. The total number of single-family homes sold in February was 930, up 16.1 percent from last month and up 25.5 percent compared to February 2009 (741). Dollar volume of single family homes sold was up 45.6 percent compared to last month.

The average single-family home sales prices rose4.6% to $110,574, over January 2010 ($105,714), thefirst increase since November 2009. The total numberof single-family homes sold in February was 930, up16.1 percent from last month and up 25.5 percent compared to February 2009 (741). Dollar volume of single family homes sold was up 45.6 percent compared to last month.

The number of total active residential listings rose to 7,935 in January. This coupled with the increase in February sales, lead to a decline in the months-of-inventory level to 8.5 months in February, down from 9.5 months in January 2010.

Julie Rietberg, CEO of the Grand Rapids Association REALTORS, commented on the numbers, “The numbers for February were impressive considering that it is a short month and the weather we had in West Michigan,” said Julie. “The winter months were better than what REALTORS were predicting and they are now looking forward to a strong spring market.”

John Postma, President of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS, commented on the market, “We’re continuing to see small improvements in the market,” said John. “The average ‘days on market’ is going down, while the average selling price, median sales price and the percentage of the listing price compared to the sales.  In certain segments of the housing market, we’re seeing a shortage of homes.”

To view more homes in Grand Rapids, MI please visit our website:  You can register to have any homes that match criteria which you pre-select delivered to your e-mail as soon as the property is listed online!  Say goodbye to waiting for the best deals today!

*article re-printed w/ permission – Grand Rapids Realtor Report March 2010

When you don’t Want to Cook…Try Marie Catrib’s Deli Take-Out!

Readers of my blogs, know that one of my favorite restaurants in Grand Rapids, Mi is Marie Catrib’s .  While I enjoy dining in and enjoying the atmosphere and diversity which make the location an engaging and friendly place, I’ve also visited their deli on more than one occassion in which I didn’t want to cook or simply had a yearning for some freshly baked bread or desserts.

In fact, just about anything that is on the menu can be ordered for take-out.  But, if you don’t want to call ahead or wait, the deli is usually chock full of delectables.

Recently, I’ve tried the mini savory pies which are offered in the deli section.  The first one I took home was a Salmon Potato mini pie.  The combination of salmon with herbed mashed potatoes was very tasty.  The deli also features a variety of fresh salads, bread, pita chips and desserts.  I love the fact that Marie strives to use the freshest ingredients possible and her creations often feature local, organically grown produce.

1001 Lake Drive Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1536
(616) 454-4020

Thank You…

From a Recent Home Seller & Home Buyer…

Spring showers bring April flowersHi Lola!
Thanks for the voice mail that you left the other day.  Yes, we are moved in and absolutely love our new house.  Not only is the house nice but the neighbors are wonderful too.  People have stopped over to introduce themselves and cookies have been brought over…

We feel like we have always lived here since it felt like home right away.  We picked the right house for our family!  Thanks again for helping us sell and purchase our homes
We were very impressed with your agency and how everything was handled.  The thing we were most appreciative of was the great communication that you had with us.  It is very evident to us that you are talented and know real estate! 

Why people would try to sell/buy a house without a realator is beyond me.  Thanks for making the process so easy, fun and stress free.  I will certainly recommend you to anyone looking to sell or buy a home. 


Andy & Kara
March 2010


At the end of day…this is why I do what I do.



Positive Periwinkle: Is the Spring 2010 Real Estate Market in Grand Rapids MI Encouraging You?

Positive periwinkle

Well, the numbers for the first couple of months of the year 2010 are in.  And there’s more good news than many anticipated in Grand Rapids, MI.  Although, there was some lethargy in the overall US market, Grand Rapids, MI has continued to buck the downwards trend in some significant areas.

If you’re a homeowner, you should be know that 2010 has started off in a good way.  There has been a 13.4% increase in overall homes sales so far (from 759 in the same period in 2009 to 861 today- January figures) and the average Sales Price is trending significantly higher…TODAY at $106,409 vs $95, 182 – January stats.  These numbers trend even better for February with average Sales price of $111,457. If you EXEMPT Short Sale and Foreclosure activity, those numbers jump closer to the $140,000 range!

So you’re probably thinking…What’s going on with Distress Sales?  Well,while  they do continue to exert a significant dampening trend on the Grand Rapids, MI market place.  It is worth noting that the percentage of Short Sales declined from just over 57% of total sales volume in January to 50% in February.

This is an important number to track, because it is a foreshadowing of the true health of the marketplace.  There are still troubling indicators in the larger economic sphere as jobs continue to be an issue in Michigan.  I think two additional issues are also in play here and may make it difficult to get an accurate grip of the true state of affairs.  The expansion of the Home Buyer Tax Credit last year to include a larger number of potential buyers until April 30, 2010 and the fact that mortgage rates continue to be exceptionally low but are expected to increase in the latter part of the year.  On the positive side… many banks have finally figured out how to systematize the Short Sale process and are streamlining the approval path relatively speaking.  Hopefully, this will help drain the pipeline of excessive inventory a little more quickly.

Another indicator you might find interesting is this:  the Median Price increased from a middling $60,000 – $62,000 to almost $80,000 in February 2010.  In the luxury market, we’re also seeing signs of encouraging activity.  Many homes in the $400,000 + range were especially hit hard with losses in the past year.

Last year, approximately 80 homes Sold in this Price Range (over $400,000).  However, just since January, there have been 11 homes Sold in Grand Rapids, MI over the $400,000 price mark! If you’ve been wondering about the possibility of selling an Executive level home, it may be time to get ahead of the curve and take a fresh look at your prospects. Audu Real Estate is available to provide an extensive analysis of the market including strategic advice in positioning your home advantageously.  Contact us at 616-791-0511.

In case you’re curious…here’s some interesting information about periwinkle. 🙂

picture courtesy of Franco Folini