Coming soon

Big Rapids welcomes Panera Bread, Aldi

Future Locations: Panera will be located in the vacant lot between McDonald’s and Walgreens. Aldi will be located behind the Shell Gas Station near Lowe’s. Photos By: Tori Thomas | Photographer

Future Locations: Panera will be located in the vacant lot between McDonald’s and Walgreens. Aldi will be located behind the Shell Gas Station near Lowe’s. Photos By: Tori Thomas | Photographer

It’s not uncommon for Ferris students to complain about the lack of dining options available to them in Big Rapids.

“There are some hidden gems in Big Rapids, but still more options would be nice,” Ferris senior biology major Justin Cooper said. “I don’t like eating fast food, which seems to be a large majority of the food facilities here. More healthy businesses would be welcomed.”

Cooper and students who share his feelings are in luck. At a town meeting on March 26, City Manager Steve Sobers announced plans for Panera Bread to open a location on State Street, between McDonald’s and Walgreens Pharmacy.

According to the Pioneer, the company has yet to confirm the development, but Sobers said Panera Bread has been in talks with the city for several months.

“They have said [Big Rapids] is a number one priority place they want to be, but they just need to [finalize] a spot,” Sobers said.

Cooper was thrilled by the announcement.

“Healthy options are a must, especially with the diets that college students can have,” he said. “Panera has healthy options available. I’ve seen their menu and eaten there a few times before.”

Established in 1981, Panera Bread is rapidly expanding across North America. As of December 2012, the company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes have 1,652 locations in 44 states and Ontario, Canada, according to the company’s website.

Panera Bread’s menu—which includes made-to-order sandwiches, salads and soups—is comparable to Pepper’s Café, located on North Michigan Avenue.

Ferris senior elementary education major Morgan Kramerich considers herself a Pepper’s regular and plans to continue frequenting the café even after the new Panera Bread opens. Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe other students will do the same.

“I think a lot of people will go to Panera. But for me, I’ll go to Pepper’s just because it won’t be so crowded,” Kramerich said. “I think it will be tough for Pepper’s to keep up with Panera.”

Pepper’s Café could not be reached for comment.

In addition to a new restaurant, Big Rapids will be welcoming a new grocery store. At the March 26 town meeting, Big Rapids Township Supervisor Bill Stanek announced that Aldi construction is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks.

The 16,000-square-foot grocery store will be located on the lot between Lowe’s and the Shell Food Mart gas station on 215th Avenue.

According to the Pioneer, this will be the first development in the Perry Avenue business district in five years.

“I think that bringing more businesses overall to Big Rapids is good,” Cooper said. “We don’t have many options, and it seems to get monotonous at the end of the day, for some. [Students] will like the change and more ‘modernization’ of Big Rapids.”

  • Guelettis

    Let me get this straight…

    There were 2 alleged assaults on campus on the 20th/21st, but the main headline of The Torch this week is the upcoming Panera Bread and ALDI? Yikes. Those are some messed up priorities…

    Even if The Torch did not want to cover these specific alleged assaults, why didn’t The Torch choose to do articles on assaults/rapes/other crimes on college campuses in general?

    I know the alleged assaults were a while ago (and one suspect was even lodged in the county jail), but that seems like something that deserves more than a news brief…

    • Alex Wittman, News Editor

      Thanks for your input. The Torch appreciates reader input and values your opinion. In response to your comment, I personally spoke with Captain Cook about the alleged assault, and after consulting the Editor-In-Chief, I decided that the best way to present the information was in “On the Record.” Following the October attempted sexual assault, the Torch ran a column about assaults on college campuses. Feel free to look it up in the archives, if you’re interested. Thank you again for your input.

      • Guelettis

        Hello Alex,

        I’ve submitted a letter to the editor with a bit more of my concerns with this issue. Yes, I am familiar with the column you wrote in October. Unfortunately, this column was really more a testament of “It could have been me” than preventing assault or problems on the campus. It was also a little on the victim blaming side. I doubt that was your intention, but the content was there.

        Thank you for attempting to interact with the readership.

        • Allgaib

          There’s been quite a few events this school year either on campus or nearby that held self defense classes and meetings to talk about this very thing. I think it’s much more effective to hold events like that instead of just mentioning it in the newspaper. They’ve already covered the topic during this school year- now it’s time for other outlets to help spread the word. It’s not solely the Torch’s responsibility to tackle the issue of campus assaults.

          • Guelettis

            I very much agree. A demonstration or talk of prevention is always better than words. I’m happy to hear that others are taking initiative on the campus.

            My issue is really more with the complete lack of priorities with subject matter. I somehow doubt that the potential opening of a new store/restaurant is literally the most relevant thing to the students.

            It would be nice to see The Torch take on some bigger issues…

      • Everyone at Ferris

        you are absolutely the most closeted money shielded girl on campus. hiring on only to advance liberal bias and denying ferris of any real news talent by filling a spot reserved for a proper newswomen/man. your articles are bland, under researched and tasteless. the torch will be better with your graduation.

        • Ferris alum

          I wish I there was a love button and I could high five whoever wrote this comment. Absolutely perfect!