Campaign tells W MI natives: ‘Opportunity Awaits’

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Experience GR want those who grew up in West Michigan to take another look at coming home.

On Tuesday, they kicked off a campaign called Opportunity Awaits, which is aimed at luring people who are from West Michigan to return here to build their careers.

“When we look at the qualities West Michigan has, we think we’re really well positioned for the new normal, the new reality or whatever comes next,” said Andy Johnston, vice president of government and corporate affairs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Grand Rapids is not the city it was 10 years ago. It is now known as an art and craft beer destination. In addition to that new identity, the Chamber wants to play on the region’s proximity to Lake Michigan beaches, trails and dunes — and the things you can’t necessarily see, like the fact that it has one of the fastest growing economies in the country and is home to more than 130 international companies.

“We’re not a passenger community. We are a participant community. We’re small enough yet big enough where you can make that difference and have a really profound impact,” Johnston said.

The Opportunity Awaits initiative will include a big online campaign featuring a video and a website.

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Organizers are asking for testimonials from people who left West Michigan, then came back and are loving it.

“If you left a decade or a decade and a half ago, we’ve done a lot of growing up. We’re not perfect though, we have our problems to focus on but one of the best things about West Michigan is you can make a difference here. We want to invite people to be part of that change,” Johnston said.

The campaign urges those who have moved back to West Michigan to share all the things that make this place great with family members and neighbors they left behind.