The Grand Traverse Mall is like any mall, really. A place where folks come to shop and to meet.
One regular visitor is a bit different from the rest, because, well, he doesn’t work there but he spends hours there just about every day. Grant Forrester could be called the mall mayor.
“He always introduces himself to every new retailer we have. I think that he’s the first person they meet, not me. It’s Grant,” says Grand Traverse Mall manager Don Pelland.
A car accident as a toddler left him with severe injuries that Grant has turned into opportunities. And he has blended into the mall community. Visiting, delivering mail. It may be retail, but it’s still a community. Some having worked here since the opening 24 years ago.
“Over that time you get to know friends and neighbors that work in other stores,” explains Pelland.
Along with mail deliveries, he does report on any issues he notices around the mall. His contagious smile also is appreciated by those he meets. This is also his training site. Yes, training sight.
“When he’s training for the 5k’s at the Cherry Festival it’s pretty intense. And it’s a lot of fun. I coach him a lot, and he coaches me a lot. After the Cherry Fest, it’s just getting in the miles for him. We try to stay out of trouble,” says training partner Kevin Kaye.
Which is easier said than done for these two. But the adoption of mall tenants and Grant is mutual. So much so that Don’s heart was moved when he opened up a Christmas card from Grant.
“The Christmas card touched me, because I realized how much effort it was for him to write that out. He took the time to hand write out cards,” says Pelland.