|Uptown eyes potential grocery store|
|Written by Jennifer Novoseletsky, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 27 August 2012 16:37|
While students are beginning their semester studying for classes, the Town of Normal is beginning to compile a list of consultants to do a study of their own on a grocery store in Uptown.
In hopes to have a grocery store up by next year, a study on how a grocery store may fit into the Uptown area will begin around November or December, Mark Peterson, city manager of Normal, said.
“They will look at the traffic patterns, pedestrian patterns, they will look at the square footage, they will look at things like, ‘Can you back up a truck to unload produce?’” Melanie Shellito, Green Top Grocery’s planning committee member, explained.
According to Shellito, the consultants will look into the demographics of the area and will put together an evaluation to cover not only situations about the actual market, but also what to expect in terms of sales.
“Students will play an important role in the study because a lot of students live in Uptown Normal and a lot of students live around the perimeter of Uptown,” Peterson explained. “The consultant is going to want to consider that target ... it’s a very important one.”
On top of students being put into consideration of the study, consultants will consider local residents in Normal, products that should be sold in the store and the location or locations of where the grocery store would be easiest to reach for Normal residents.
The top suggested area of location for the grocery store is the vacant College Avenue parking deck, Mark Peterson said. Though this is the best suggestion, the town is keeping an open mind on other locations as well.
“Not everybody is a fan of the Uptown garage location in the community, so there are some other locations that it would be smart for us to look at. It keeps a very open mind at this point,” Shellito added.
Students can certainly relate to the massive amounts of time studying consumes. Once this particular study proves positive, piecing together the grocery store will take additional time.
“It may take as much as a year to actually get a grocery store here, to attract one and to either build a new building or build out an existing building, so it’s not something that is going to happen overnight,” Peterson explained.
Having a grocery store in Uptown will have numerous benefits, including not only a new location, but also new jobs for local residents and students.
“Primarily, it’s the service that is important for people who choose to live here or live close to the Uptown area so they don’t have to get in their car and drive,” Peterson explained. “They can walk or take a short bus ride and get their groceries right here in the neighborhood.”
“We think it will be an important service that will benefit everyone who lives in the Uptown area,” he added. If everything goes as planned, the grocery store could open as early as November 2013, Shellito said.