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A tradition of hospitality

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it." Thoughtful words from a man so dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings. John F. Gilmore, founder of The Gilmore Collection, began his professional career with Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, before transitioning into Real Estate Development. John's first foray into the hospitality business came with the purchase of The Jerome Hotel (Aspen, Colorado) in 1968. This was followed by the opening of The Thornapple Village Inn (Ada, Michigan) a decade later.

In 1981, John's son, Gregory Gilmore, entered into the fold at the age of twenty-three. Gregory had previously studied hospitality management at Davenport and philosophy at The University of Oregon, before deciding to accept a management position at The Thornapple. Shortly thereafter, The Thornapple won several prestigious awards, including Grand Rapids Magazine's coveted "Restaurant Of The Year Award." Over the next three decades, the father and son duo embarked on a series of new ventures that would define The Gilmore Collection as it is known today.
Rose's on Reeds Lake
Rose's On Reeds Lake, circa 1901
The Kirby Hotel, currently The Kirby House (Grand Haven, Michigan), was purchased and restored in 1989. Formerly The Gildner Hotel, the building was originally built in 1873 on the plot where the first permanent home in Grand Haven once stood. Today The Kirby House is heavily trafficked, especially in the summer months during Grand Haven's heaviest tourism season.

In 1992, Rose's on Reeds Lake was added to the collection. A small restaurant and the last remaining historical landmark of the Romana Park era, Rose's has endured, becoming one of Grand Rapid's most beloved restaurants. The '90s saw the addition of Rose's Express (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and The Redstone Inn, a rustic, turn-of-the-century resort nestled deep within the mountains of Redstone, Colorado. The decade ended with The B.O.B.–the most ambitious project of all. The 70,000-square-foot, four story, red brick building was constructed in 1903 as Judson's Grocery Warehouse. It stood vacant for decades before The Gilmore Collection began its transformation, saving it from demolition. Downtown Grand Rapids was not a thriving community hub in 1997, making the project both ambitious and risky. Today, The B.O.B. stands as one the centerpieces for food and entertainment in downtown Grand Rapids.
Nick Fink's
Nick Fink's, circa 1888
Carrying the momentum of The B.O.B.'s success into the new century, John and Greg began with the renovation of the Bergin Building on East Main Street in Lowell, Michigan. Built in the early twentieth-century, the building is now home to the Flat River Grill, named after the river the flows peacefully just outside the patio door. The Flat River Grill was followed up with a new restaurant built from the ground up–Blue Water Grill (now known as Blue Water). The architecture of Blue Water drew inspiration from the design aesthetics of Frank Lloyd Wright. Blue Water sits along the shores of Versluis Lake, with a massive deck and garden.

After the success of Blue Water, the Gilmores returned to familiar territory with the purchase of Gibsons, a turn-of-the-century Italianate mansion located in the heart of East Hills, Grand Rapids. Renamed Paddock Place, the big house on Lake Drive is now one of West Michigan's most unique and recognizable special event venues. In a surprise move, The Gilmore Collection assumed ownership of Nick Fink's Saloon, the oldest bar in Grand Rapids (established in 1888). Rich in character, tradition and paranormal activity, Nink Fink's was a unique addition to the Gilmore Collection catalog of venues. In 2012, The Gilmores happily took on the project of restoring The Bostwick Lake Inn (Rockford, Michigan) to days of former glory. The beneficiary of a colorful history and beautiful waterfront location, Bostwick Lake Inn is a Rockford tradition and a destination dining experience for the whole of West Michigan.
Bostwick Lake Inn
Bostwick Lake Inn, circa 1910
Finally in 2017, the long awaited addition to The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Live, was completed in partnership with Live Nation. An Art Deco inspired and state-of-the-art music venue, 20 Monroe Live has been well received by Grand Rapids and stands out as a reminder that The Gilmore Collection remains focused on innovation, growth and projects that are a credit to Grand Rapids, West Michigan and beyond.
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