Making a difference

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Rodney Brown, left, is a founder and community organizer with the Grand Rapids African American Community Task Force. Photo by Bryan Esler

This year has been tough to say the least, and I’ve ridden that emotional roller coaster of days where I thought “this isn’t so terrible” all the way to “everything is awful!” I imagine you’ve had a very similar reaction. But one thing that has helped me on the down days has been the uplifting stories of people stepping up to make a difference.

From the individuals helping their neighbors to the doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis to the protestors taking to the streets to demonstrate against violence against Black men and women and prevailing racism, I’ve been inspired just as often as I’ve been dismayed.

In this issue, we wanted to highlight a handful of those people in our own community — and hopefully provide a little inspiration for you as we enter these shorter, drearier days of winter. I hope you feel inspired to figure out how you, too, can make a difference in our community.

This is also the season for holiday shopping, so we turned to the pros to find out where they shop. Find out where your local veterinarian, fitness instructor, restaurant manager and more do their shopping.

Since holiday parties are likely to be a bit more low-key this year, we talked to interior designer Autumn Fuchs about designing a stylish and functional bar in your home. Fuchs shares a recent project she completed and lets us in on the biggest trends in bar design right now.

If you are venturing out for drinks with friends, we share our top five winter patios in this issue to help you find the right spot. Year-round patios are growing in Grand Rapids, and we expect to see more restaurants and bars embracing winter this year.

We also find out more about Vince McIntosh, the man behind Irie Kitchen. A self-described “hustler,” McIntosh is working to build a mini-empire in Grand Rapids. He isn’t the only one “hustling.” Archie Sudue is following his fashion sense into business with Mel Styles, a men’s shop offering everything from the latest styles to fashion tips and education, and 14-year-old Frankie Volkema has released her own coffee line focused on young coffee bean farmers. These young people are making a difference in Grand Rapids.

Let’s all make a difference.

Charlsie Dewey
Managing Editor, Grand Rapids Magazine

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