Iowa grocer considering Wapello
April 26, 2019
Iowa grocer considering Wapello
by JIM RUDISILL
WAPELLO — An Iowa grocery chain may be convinced to locate a store in Wapello, depending on what a market study authorized by the city council during its regular meeting Thursday reveals.
Wapello’s Jack and Jill, the city’s only full-line grocery store, closed its doors in late November of last year and city officials and others have been seeking a replacement store since.
Mayor Shawn Maine told the city council Thursday that efforts to attract a store could hinge on completing the market study, which could show how viable a store would be in the community of a little over 2000 residents.
He said the issue was raised during recent discussions with Brothers Market, Clive, Iowa, which its website indicates is now operating nine stores in three states.
“We’ve been in discussions with Brothers Market, and they requested us to get a survey done,” Maine reported.
“It would give us information on the vitality of a grocery store (and) what kind of revenue it would generate,” he said.
The city would retain ownership of the report, and if Brothers opted not to open a store, the document could then be used in other store recruitment efforts, Maine said.
He said the cost for the study, which would be conducted by Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., Kansas City, would be $3,900.
Maine said the company had already completed some preliminary steps in the study, and if the council did agree to continue moving forward with the full study, it likely would be completed in a few weeks.
However, before the council voted on the proposed study, Maine also reported he had talked with local Casey’s General Store Manager Shelly Singleton and learned the Iowa-based convenience store chain was also looking to possibly open a line of grocery stores.
“I thought that was a very good option as well,” Maine said, adding he felt it would still be wise to conduct the market study to enhance all the city’s options.
“I don’t want to throw all my eggs in either basket,” he said.
The council agreed and authorized Maine to move forward with the market study.
Maine said he hoped the study could be completed by the council’s May 16 meeting.
In other action, the council met for the second time with Alberto and Elvira Villagrana to discuss their request to have the city clean up their property at 926 Mill following a Dec. 3, 2018 fire that destroyed their house.
The property was not insured.
At the council’s April 4 meeting, the couple had requested the city conduct a cleanup of the property and assess the cost to their property taxes. Initially city officials agreed, but then decided to contact city attorney Adam Parsons for guidance.
Maine said Parsons had agreed the city could use that process, and at Thursday’s meeting told the Villagranas the city would move forward with hiring a contractor.
In final action, the council:
• Approved bid documents for custodial services at several city buildings.
• Agreed to hire Edward Parker as a part-time police officer at $20.40 per hour.
• On a split 4-2 vote, approved installing a four-way stop at the intersection of Spring and South 2nd streets.
• Discussed allowing the Wapello FFA to install a new elevated announcer’s shed for the rodeo arena, but delayed making any final decision until a rodeo representative provides information on possible arena rental fees for other activities.