You never know how badly you’ll miss something until it’s gone. That’s what happened last year when Carlisle Foods closed due to the retirement of its owners. With the next closest grocery store about 8 miles away, residents were finding it extremely inconvenient. And, running to get an ingredient for a recipe or a meal was nearly out of the question, with a round trip taking as long as 30 to 40 minutes.
During the survey last summer many respondents commented on the need for a local grocery store and several residents were offering up land, support and best wishes for a local store in Carlisle, but city and county leaders were already working on a solution. Studies showed that nearly $6 million dollars a year were leaking out of the local economy into surrounding communities just in grocery sales.
“A local grocery store is a cornerstone of any community,” stated Ruth Randleman, Mayor of Carlisle. She continues, “a growing community needs its own basic resources and a grocery store is an important part of that equation.”
It just so happened while the Carlisle City Council, Mayor Randleman and the Warren County Board of Supervisors were listening to residents and seeking ideas for a new grocery store, Fareway executives were also looking for a new store location and Carlisle was on their short list.
Once the connection was made, Hollie Askey, Director of Operations for Warren County Economic Development Corporation (WCEDC) began working with Fareway executives to find a suitable location. Many factors are considered when choosing a location for a grocery store such as parcel size, traffic flows, parking and access for large delivery trucks and semis. Typically, Fareway seeks out a 5 acre lot and then builds one of two designs. Several building parcels of that size were inspected, but the locations weren’t quite right.
“Fareway kept coming back to the empty lot immediately west of Subway which was just over 3 acres in size.” said Hollie Askey of WCEDC, “Even though this wasn’t their ideal lot, they liked the traffic flows and visibility from Highway 5. Fareway executives took the maps and went back to their architects to create a new design that would fit in this space. A few weeks later, they came back with a whole new store layout, customized specifically for this lot, and were ready to make a deal.”
Bringing a new business into a community usually requires incentives from both city and county and this project was no different. After selecting the land, Hollie Askey led the charge by bridging the gap between City Administrators and County Supervisors and working to structure a financial package with a land purchase and property tax rebate that was beneficial for all three parties.
“This was a piece of ground that was generating $96 per year in property taxes,” stated Hollie. “Now with Fareway here, even with the tax breaks, the city and county will get a huge return on their investment. It’s a net gain for everyone involved! Residents who buy their groceries locally will find it convenient to buy other items from local retailers as well. In addition, the new store will add 15 full time jobs with benefits and 40 to 65 part time jobs. Total annual payroll is estimated to be around $3.8 million dollars per year depending on sales.”
Mayor Randleman adds, “This new store will help other development and new housing in Carlisle as those projects, that may have been on hold, will now move forward undaunted.”
Join us for the official groundbreaking on Tuesday, April 22nd at 5:30 at the new site, 1115 Blue Stem Dr. (next to Subway) Carlisle, IA. Food and Drinks will be provided as well as brochures with information about the new store and grand opening plans. Shovels hit the dirt at 6:00pm.
The new store is expected to open late 2014 or early 2015.