GENOA – Outgoing Genoa Mayor Todd Walker hopes 40-minute round trips for fruit and vegetables will be an unnecessary chore for Genoa residents come May.
Genoa will once again have a local grocery store after Piggly Wiggly finalized a deal to open in the old Brown's County Market location on Pearson Drive and bring approximately 70 jobs to the community.
Gary Suokko, chief operating officer of Piggly Wiggly Midwest, said store staff would be a mixture of former Brown's employees and new employees.
Walker said residents have experienced an inconvenient 6 months since Brown's and Genoa Produce Carniceria closed in early November last year, leaving the city with no local grocery store. Walker said limiting trips to Sycamore and DeKalb will be more convenient for residents and keep sales tax dollars in their own community.
"I think many of the residents realized once Brown's closed how much they missed it," Walker said. "People have their favorite places to shop and I certainly understand that, but I hope our residents give the new store an opportunity to earn their business."
The Piggly Wiggly, targeted to open May 22, will feature more products and easier access, Genoa City Administrator Joe Misurelli said.
There will be no pharmacy in the store as there was in Brown's, but there will be more space for grocery products, Misurelli said. Suokko said the store would feature produce, deli, meat, seafood, dairy, bakery and liquor departments. It also will carry imported food including an expanded line of Hispanic foods.
Access to the store will be improved as shoppers can now enter directly off Route 23 and exit southbound from the parking lot onto Route 23 with the recent installation of right-in, right-out access, Misurelli said.
Suokko said Piggly Wiggly believed Genoa can be a longtime home.
"There are over 5,000 people in Genoa and we felt there was certainly potential there," Suokko said. "We feel a store with the right program can be successful and we believe we have the right program."
The Piggly Wiggly will not receive any of the sales tax breaks Brown's County Market benefitted from in its first three years in Genoa. Misurelli said because there was no need to construct a building, tax incentives were not necessary.
Misurelli estimated the loss of Brown's would have resulted in a loss of $70,000 in tax revenue for the year. He said he is hopeful Piggly Wiggly will fill that void and generate even more economic activity.
Dan Brown. owner of Brown's County Market, could not be reached for comment. Sycamore city officials and chamber of commerce officials were unsure of the status and future of the Brown's County Market location in Sycamore.