VanKampen buys Bilz Pool and Spas

Marie Havenga • Feb 3, 2018 at 10:00 AM

SPRING LAKE – Kim VanKampen, the woman whose mission is to reinvent Spring Lake, purchased another property this week.

This time, as part of her $3 million venture in the village, she purchased Bilz Pool and Spas at 304 W. Savidge St.

Bilz owner Mike Aldridge said he will rent the space from VanKampen for a year, then move his business a mile and half east to a building in Spring Lake Township.

“This will be part of the redevelopment,” said Sandi Gentry of the Sandi Gentry Team, ReMax Lakeshore. “We did give the seller the opportunity to stay in the building up to one year because we are focusing on other parcels first.”

According to Gentry this is the final piece of the puzzle in VanKampen's plans. She aimed for six village parcels, and now has closed on all.

Gentry said VanKampen is targeting specific retailers/chains to fill a missing niche in the Village of Spring Lake.

“We're going after the businesses we want,” Gentry said.

It's only a matter of figuring out what space may work best for them, she said.

Gentry said there are no plans for the Bilz building at this time.

“This is number six (VanKampen purchased) and final at this time,” she said. “Now let's make it happen.”

VanKampen, who owns a summer home on Spring Lake, said she grew tired of seeing vacant buildings in the Village of Spring Lake and decided to do something about it.

She has purchased the buildings immediately west of Village Hall, up to and including the large gray building, the former Phoenix Deli Cafe.

She plans to renovate the buildings and create a “landmark restaurant” in the building adjacent to Village Hall. The other buildings will likely become a cafe and upscale kitchen store like Sur La Table, with condominiums on the upper level.

She has also purchased the long-vacant Citgo gas station on the north side of Savidge Street, and an office building on Jackson Street immediately behind Love in Action.

Gentry said she's received a lot of calls from people interested in opening businesses in the village.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” Gentry said. “But she has a plan.”

Gentry and VanKampen have approached national chain businesses that they feel would thrive in the village. They're pretty much attempting to hand-pick the tenants for the buildings.

But until contracts are signed, they will not disclose what businesses may be coming to Spring Lake.

“Everything we've put out there, there has been interest,” Gentry said. “Nobody has said 'we're not interested.' These are companies people would know.

“One is a place you'd want to stop every morning,” Gentry said of the target tenant for the former Citgo station.

Gentry said the goal is to put Spring Lake Village on the map, to create desirable businesses so people will want to stop instead of just driving through to reach Grand Haven.

“We're trying to make our village complete,” Gentry said. “We need to appeal to millennials. It has to go to this point of what she's doing to make it where people want to be. We're strengthening Spring Lake. We're strengthening our area and making it more desirable for people to be here, making it a place where people want to stay. That's why I'm so passionate about this.”

Gentry said Spring Lake needs to be more like West Palm Beach, where her daughter attends college.

“It’s so clean, nice and neat, and they have all the latest and greatest places,” Gentry said. “They have great places to eat.”

Gentry said VanKampen's vision will breathe new life into the village.

“I think Spring lake Village was just kind of fading out,” she said. “No one wanted to start a business there. This is what had to happen next, otherwise it was fizzling out. We are so blessed to have Kim in our community. There are not many people who can step up and say 'I am going to buy buildings and make it nice here.' This is a gift.”

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