Downtown doughnut shop closes; cites homeless problem

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Grand Rapids doughnut shop has closed and their reasoning is not going over well.

PropagandaDoughnuts_croppedPropaganda Doughnuts was in business for nearly 3 years on South Division Avenue. The shop posted on their Facebook page that they are closed as of last Sunday and thanked customers for their business. The post went on to explain that they were "unable to find answers and overcome the problem of the increasing amount of homeless and disadvantaged people who now frequent the street in front of our location."

The Facebook post was later taken down after a flurry of negative comments, accusing Propaganda Donuts of scapegoating their closure on the homeless.

"The doughnut shop should have closed 6 months ago,” says Bob Dykstra, landlord for business. "Everybody thinks you sound like a bad guy because you're talking about the homeless, but it's the gangs that come down here and the drug dealers that sell to the homeless. That's more of the problem."

According to Dykstra, the doughnut shop had initially been doing well, bringing in $30,000 monthly in this first year. But those numbers dropping sharply in recent months to just $4,000 a month.

Meanwhile, organizations like the Coalition to End Homelessness is trying to help improve the situation for everyone.

"We can't assume that everybody in that corridor is experiencing homelessness, but we do know that we can impact the poverty that people are experiencing," said Jessica Vail, program manager for the Grand Rapids Coalition to End Homelessness.

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20 comments

      • Jerrod

        Why do you stay in such an incredibly religious environment if you are so unhappy with religious people, Duckworth? There are plenty more jobs available and better return on your tax dollars than you will get here in places with more secular populations. I am not trying to antagonize you, I seriously want to know what drives you to stay in the area if you are so offended by religion.

    • Andrew

      Here’s another idea, Brian: Help for the homeless is only a couple blocks away, at Mel Trotter. They would rather stay homeless than follow the rules of a shelter or group home. Yes, there are others who actually need more substantial mental health treatment, but there is no legislation which demands it so they are free to inflict whatever affrontery their sick minds compel them to inflict upon the citizens of this city. So ultimately this is a situation which exists by choice, both the choice of the homeless people and the choice of the city/state.

      I don’t know what kind of idiot thinks doing business downtown is a good idea anyway. Yeah, there are lots of people downtown, but there are lots of people in other areas of the county which have lower tax rates. Oh the night life, you say? Yeah, let’s see…homeless, criminals, and drunks comprise 80% of the people running around downtown at night. Unless you sell sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or $75 steaks, you are going to be hard put to make money downtown at night, plus the hassles of dealing with such a huge problematic social segment makes it that much more work. It is no wonder most new businesses coming to the area are making a point to locate not just away from downtown, but outside the city limits entirely.

      • Brian

        Have you sat down and got these people stories before you make a judgement about them Jesus would have compassion on them maybe they just need Love the people that want to stay homeless is because our society glamourizes it

        • Andrew

          A) I spent years working with the downtown indigent population, so yes I am well aware of their stories. They are a variant and diverse as anyone’s.
          B) I made no judgment of them. I merely pointed out that a vast majority of them are homeless by choice. I did not judge that choice. I did imply judgment against the city and its lack of constructive policies regarding the homeless population, but I do not think that is what you are referring to.

          • Brian

            I don’t live in GR but being an outsider i see in a different perspective that GR is more worried about getting bigger and popular instead of taking care of the people of the city either you keep up or be left out on the streets some are put by choice but that is because they don’t know there is other choices and opportunities

    • Patrick

      The city wants no bad publicity for downtown so of course there going to try hide the truth. This city is so perfect in their eye’s.

  • Dave

    Surprise Surprise, hard to believe in a State that touts nothing but tourism. This State only has three good paying jobs in it, Business owner, Professional, or government employee. The “ruling Class” wants tourism only, but ask yourself, who makes money in a Hotel? The owner, the staff works typically part time, nothing wages and no opportunity. And yet the Thieves / government, take EVERYONE’S tax dollars and promotes worthless tourism. Pure Mi. ya right.

  • Javanna Bagley

    I worked for them my last two paychecks bounced I had to threaten them with a lawsuit just to get paid. They paid their investors before me. This also happened to my coworkers one of my friends lost their apartment and another almost did.

  • Candace

    A noodle bar by the name of Bandit Queen was right next to them and were around for a similar timeframe. They closed down last fall.. I wonder if it was for a similar reason.

    Honestly though, I hate going downtown. If it isn’t the exorbitant parking fees or the giant hassle of finding parking nearby, it’s the panhandlers asking you for money. I feel bad for the homeless and want to help but I know my chump change isn’t going to go a long way.

    • Gigantic Johnson

      Your money will go to buy drugs and alcohol, better to just keep it. Unless of course you want to help fund drug and human trafficking, blacks killing blacks and drive by shootings.

  • Bob

    The homeless people are a problem. I sure the city keeps that problem right where it is and doesn’t push anymore homeless people into the burgs.

  • KT

    I don’t go to downtown GR anymore. I got scammed and then fined by the city at a parking meter while going to Hopcat. I won’t be back. Plenty of fine establishments in other more welcoming cities.

  • John

    For some of the homeless they are there not by their own choice. The majority are there by choice. It seems strange that they can sit on the corner of cherry and division and use their cell phones to order Jimmy Johns. Or when they ask for money and you say I will give you a job for an hour they just keep walking.

  • John

    The bible also says you have to help yourself.Strange when you see a lot of these homeless sit on their cell phones all the time and then see them have Jimmy Johns deliver too them.