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Iowa Town Seeking Grocer

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Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:45 am

In downtown Emmetsburg, Iowa, there is a building waiting for a grocer. Billie Jo Joyce, economic developer for the city, has raised $300,000 locally to purchase the building, but won’t take that step until the city finds a grocer that will go into it.

She also purchased the fixtures inside the building, which currently is owned by a Kiwanis Club located 90 miles away. The club is looking to sell the building in Emmetsburg because the taxes are “right around $57,000 a year” based on its last sale price, Joyce said.

“Our main focus would be making sure that it was a low upfront cost to get a grocer into our community,” she told The Shelby Report. “Obviously we would subsidize the grocer to get him in there. We have offered the building and fixtures for free with tax abatements.”

Joyce said there had been a grocer who was very interested in the building. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being he’d definitely move in, he was at seven, she said, but then he got an email alerting him that another store had become available in an area where he knew he wanted to open.

“I was just about ready to cry,” Joyce said.

There is a Fareway in Emmetsburg, but Joyce said that while it is a great grocer, the issue is that it is closed on Sunday. She said there are enough people who would shop on Sunday to justify being open. People who shop on Sunday are leaving town.

“Our closest town that has a grocery store is about 30 miles away, but there’s also a Walmart there,” Joyce said. “So they’re getting their groceries, but they’re also picking up things that we need them to buy here in Emmetsburg.”

Emmetsburg seems a very small town, with a population of 3,900, but Joyce said the demographics for the city are misleading. It has a community college that draws in teachers from outlying areas and a hospital that does the same with medical professionals. It also has POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels’ Project Liberty, where corn crop residue is turned into cellulosic bio-ethanol to compete with corn bio-ethanol. In addition, Emmetsburg is home to the Wild Rose Casino and Resort.

For more information, contact Joyce at 712-415-1142 or [email protected].

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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