DDA Says Replacing Manchester Grocery Store a Priority

By Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

With the Manchester Market closing its doors the Manchester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) identified replacing it as a priority at their meeting on Jan. 30.

The DDA discussed their roles in recruiting businesses to the area, looking back on prior studies they had commissioned on the subject in 2015 (Gibbs) and 2017 (Vanderworp). Those studies looked at what Manchester had to offer when selecting candidate business types to bring to the area.

Those studies didn’t have any movement forward as a result of some downtown businesses owners refusing to rent their storefronts but DDA Chair Ray Berg said it may be time to look at them again with the Manchester Market closing its doors.

Berg told the DDA he had studied Whole Foods, Aldi’s, and Kroger with some of these businesses having an application on their website to bring that company to their community. Berg said the applications on some of those sites requested information that the studies they had commissioned and never used.

An important aspect to consider is the size of the businesses that they want to bring to Manchester. Berg said that in his research, he found that some businesses had different models of stores that can fit certain communities, using the Kroger in Milan as an example.

The question came up of if the owners of the building were interested in renting the space out, the property is listed as for sale or lease.

Jennifer Wojtowicz, owner of Proper Property Services and the Manchester Mill, was in attendance and said she had been in touch with the listing agent and that there had been no interest thus far, the only interest had been a tear down and rebuild with a rezone

The DDA came to a consensus that a new build for a store would be needed anyways and Berg mentioned that some stores, if they were to consider coming to the area, would need to be closer to other communities or have a certain population within a radius of the store.

“This, I think, is the critical thing that has come along that the DDA can start to get involved with,” said Berg. “Using the studies to put our priority on getting a regular grocery store type replacement.”

While still in the preliminary stages the DDA decided to focus on four options, Kroger, Jerry’s, Busch’s, and Fresh Thyme (Meijer).

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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