Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stay or go? Grocery store could move to new location

By ABBY ECKEL and By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 4/23/2014

A new Price Chopper was expected to open today in the former Country Mart building, but the grocery store might already be eyeing a different location.

Country Mart, 2138 S. Princeton Circle Drive, Ottawa, recently sold to the Queen family, owners of several Price Chopper stores, closing Saturday for cleanup and renovations that were to include new décor, signage, carts, scales and deli equipment, as well as expanded produce, deli, bakery and meat selections. The store was expected to reopen today under the new name and ownership.

A new Price Chopper was expected to open today in the former Country Mart building, but the grocery store might already be eyeing a different location.

Country Mart, 2138 S. Princeton Circle Drive, Ottawa, recently sold to the Queen family, owners of several Price Chopper stores, closing Saturday for cleanup and renovations that were to include new décor, signage, carts, scales and deli equipment, as well as expanded produce, deli, bakery and meat selections. The store was expected to reopen today under the new name and ownership.

“Our family is committed to serving the Ottawa community,” Barry Queen, one of Queen’s Price Choppers owners, said. “We’ll do this by offering high quality products in a friendly atmosphere that focuses on customer service.”

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the store will continue serving customers in the existing location.

A lot just north of Orscheln Farm & Home, 2008 S. Princeton St., Ottawa, apparently is being considered for a new supermarket development, according to city documents.

Joel Riggs of Super Market Developers Inc. applied April 11 to rezone the land through the City of Ottawa. Super Market Developers Inc. is a subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., which is the corporate owner of Price Chopper and Country Mart.

Riggs did not return phone calls from The Herald.

The Ottawa Price Chopper owner said it was too early to comment.

“All I can confirm is that we are exploring opportunities to either expand the existing facility or relocate to a new one,” Queen told The Herald April 17.

According to the city rezoning application, which the Herald received through an open records request, property owners affected by the rezoning document include Lloyd Family Homes LLC, Rodney Steele Crane and Sherri Linn Crane, Darrell L. Griffin and Darlene Griffin, Michael J. Stine and Karen L. Stine, Charles E. Ratliff Trust, Shirley Louise Ratliff Trust, Orscheln Farm and Home LLC, Calvin Rosey, and Ottawa Music.

Rosey, owner of Ottawa Music, 120 E. 19th St., Ottawa, said a deal for the development has been in the works for months. Stakes were being put down in the lot north of Orscheln last week and soil samples were being taken for new construction, he said.

“The contingencies basically end June 12,” Rosey said. “So we’ll know then whether [a supermarket] is going through or not. Then we’ve got 60 days to move. It’s not a done deal yet. We can’t do anything yet until they make sure this is going to go through.”

In addition to the Ottawa store, the Queen family owns five other Price Chopper locations — in Bonner Springs, Paola, Spring Hill and two locations in Overland Park.

“Everything we do at Price Chopper is designed to create a better experience for our customers,” Casie Broker, Price Chopper marketing director, said. “We’re excited to extend our service to Ottawa and look forward to partnering with the community.”

During the ownership transition from Country Mart to Price Chopper, the company was able to hire all of the former Country Mart employees, and actually plans to add 20 to 25 more workers, the company said Wednesday.

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