This blog post is part of Local First’s Measure What Matters series, where we interview Local First Members who have taken the Quick Impact Assessment, and learn about how the assessment has helped them use their business as a force for good and be Good for Grand Rapids.
When you head over to the Creston neighborhood, you’ll find an art gallery that does so much more than simply curate art from local artists. Formerly a St. Vincent DePaul's thrift store, Lions & Rabbits is an art gallery and community retail space that serves as a place where people can learn, create and gather.
“I originally started Lions & Rabbits because I saw the opportunity for collaboration across the Grand Rapids art scene,” said Hannah Berry, artist and owner of Lions & Rabbits. “You’ll find a unique art community in almost every Grand Rapids neighborhood, and we wanted to create a space where those different communities could come together in one place.”
Lions & Rabbits opened its doors in October 2016 with the mission of becoming a hub for different types of art and artists, and allowing the community to come together to celebrate and support one another. The gallery offers a versatile space that showcases visual and performing artists. It also serves as a studio for Berry as well as local artists including Nathan Veenman of Green NV and Kenny Cutler of The Rushouse. Lions & Rabbits also offers yoga classes, hires local artists to teach community art classes and hosts pop-up shops throughout the year.
Berry completed Local First’s Quick Impact Assessment in April, 2017. Since Lions & Rabbits is a new business, Berry mentioned that the assessment provided a helpful overview of different practices one can implement within their business as they grow.
“We took the Quick Impact Assessment because we wanted to learn how to use our business to make a positive impact in Grand Rapids,” said Berry. “What we loved about the assessment was that it focuses on environmental best practices and sustainability, and it also urges people to do good. It’s great to see other businesses take this assessment and identify ways they can become Good for Grand Rapids.”
In the future, Berry hopes to expand her team and create internships for students in the community. Her ultimate goal is to continue to make a positive economic impact through job creation while also promoting collaboration and community in Grand Rapids.
“I definitely recommend the Quick Impact Assessment to any business that’s looking to identify opportunities where they can grow,” said Berry. “My best advice is to be prepared to answer different questions about your business practices, such as your environmental impact, community engagement or hiring practices.”
Interested in learning how your business performs against best practices on employee, community and environmental impact? Join Local First at one of our Measure What Matters event or take the Quick Impact Assessment today and learn how much good your business is doing for the local economy and community at localfirst.com/sustainability/measure-what-matters.