Sign of the times: One of West Michigan’s last newsstands closing its doors

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – One of West Michigan’s last newsstands is shutting down for good after nearly 50 years of service, and the owner says it’s a sign of the times.

Elliott’s News and Tobacco shop, a long-standing business nestled on the ground floor of 50 Monroe, was once a popular spot for newspapers, magazines, and tobacco.

Bill Bennett, owner of Elliott’s, says he’s being forced to close up shop once and for all after a notice was served from CWD Real Estate Investment. Bennett must vacate the premises by Jan. 15 because of building renovations. However, the store has also fallen on hard times.

“The magazine business is tough nowadays and it’s diminishing like anything else,” Bennett said. “Profit margins aren’t as good as they used to be and the cost of rent downtown has gone up tremendously.”

Bennett said he’s just working to pay the rent now, telling FOX 17 it’s difficult to compete with larger retailers as a brick-and-mortar shop.

“The millennials just aren’t buying newspapers and magazines anymore,” Bennett said.

This isn’t the first time he’s closed down due to renovations, but it will be the last.

“My dad bought Elliot’s in 1973, operating in front of what is now the Amway Grand Hotel,” said Bennett. “We’ve moved from there to Rosa Parks Circle and every time we moved they were renovating buildings. I’m 65 years old now, if I was 20 years younger I’d try to make ends meet.”

The shop owner says it’s the customers he’ll miss the most.

“It’s just the nature of the beast,” said Bennett. “I kind of feel guilty, like I’m leaving them behind, but what can you do?”

CWD, which owns a handful of offices downtown, plans to renovate 50 Monroe back to its historical roots as three separate buildings. We reached out to them for a comment but they were unable to respond as of news time.

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