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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Expansion update: Done!

By Steve Siciliano

The boss has some final thoughts on the seemingly never-ending expansion.

If you remember the sitcom Murphy Brown, you will recall that almost every episode had a scene where Murphy was mildly exasperated by a contractor named Elgin who was the comedic focus of a never-ending house painting project. During our recently completed expansion here at Siciliano’s, there were times that I felt that I was a character in a sitcom, that there were a group of devious writers coming up with fresh, weekly ideas on how to exasperate me, and that there was a distinct possibility that our project, like Murphy’s, would never end. But the project did end, and now that things have returned to normalcy, it’s time to look back, wince at some things, laugh at others, and have a beer or two to celebrate.

When Barb and I first decided to expand into the vacated space we had no idea that things would get so complicated. We knew we had to receive permission from the Michigan Liquor Control but had no idea we would have to go before the Grand Rapids Planning Commission, that in order to get on the Commission’s May 12th agenda we would have one day to fill out an ungodly form, that we would have to send letters out to the surrounding businesses and homes, that we would have to hold a neighborhood meeting, that the police department would investigate, that the fire department would investigate, that the health department would investigate, and that the latter two would require that changes be made to the existing store. In addition there was the building inspector, the electrical inspector and the plumbing inspector. If someone from the FBI, the CIA, or the ASPCA would have shown up carrying clipboards I wouldn’t have blinked an eye.

Then there was the hiring of the contractors, the coordination of the contractors, the pleading with the contractors, the sweet talking to the contractors and, a few times, the mildly voicing of displeasure at the contractors. Most of these contractors were good, some were exceptional. I got to know the names of their wives, children and dogs. I listened to their stories.

In the end the expansion turned out pretty much the way Barb and I envisioned it. (Barb’s contributions to the project from beginning to end were invaluable). We would like to express our appreciation for everyone’s patience during the four plus months when the store was in disarray, and for all the positive comments we are hearing now that everything has been put back together.


  1. Can't wait to see the new place.
    Congrats on the expansion!

  2. Incredible effort on your part! Absolutely cannot wait to come see the newly expanded Siciliano's!

  3. I won't be able to make the trip from Japan this year, but next May I'll be in town and I'll definitely stop by.

    In the meantime, I heard you sometimes have Baird Beer from Japan -- that's where I'm brewing now. Hope you enjoy!