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Deksia offices revive building vacant for decades

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A building on the southwest side that sat vacant for 80 years after its previous life serving a paint manufacturer has been revived by a marketing and branding agency.

Deksia /Courtesy of Deksia

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Deksia, a Grand Rapids marketing and branding agency that has developed local and national brands for the past decade, opened a new, expanded office at 120 Stevens St. SW last week. Deksia’s newly renovated office, near the corner of Buchanan and Hall streets, was the former home of Kreuter-Faasen Co., a paint manufacturer for a company making metal office furniture, which would later be known as Steelcase.

“For the past 80 years this building has been vacant, but just like with this structure, we see real opportunity in this neighborhood that makes it suitable for the emerging and growing small businesses redefining Grand Rapids’ economy,” said Aaron VanderGalien, senior partner at Deksia. “While our reach extends beyond the region to national and international companies, we take pride in our roots and feel confident that the South Division neighborhood and its historical importance is a perfect reflection of our Midwest work ethic, underdog status and up-and-coming national appeal.”

The Deksia partners are aggressively attempting to expand the boundaries of downtown Grand Rapids southward to a new, and burgeoning business district with very historic roots. One of Grand Rapids’ 32 official neighborhoods, the “Southeast Community” neighborhood is also home to nationally recognized companies like Butterball Farms and Notions Marketing, as well as the popular family-owned restaurant La Taqueria San Jose.

The new Deksia headquarters has been outfitted explicitly with growth and sustainability in mind. Flexible spaces allow for collaboration and fluid teamwork, while smart technologies control nearly every aspect of its inner workings, including the thermostat, lighting, speakers and computer network. Many of the original elements of the interior and exterior remain, however, including sliding overhead doors, brick walls and chimney.

“The development of downtown Grand Rapids has been fast paced, with individuals and companies pouring into the West Michigan area for the past few decades,” said Walt Gutowski, Grand Rapids First Ward City Commissioner. “Although the exponential growth is much more visible in the heart of downtown, areas like southwest and southeast Grand Rapids have a rich history of business development and are now more easily accessible with the addition of the Silver Line bus route.”

Deksia’s previous office is just a few doors down from its new location on Stevens Street. That space will now house Direct Trade Coffee Club, a company shipping sustainable coffee directly to customers. 

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