The Unified Government is closer to bringing a grocery store to downtown KCK.
The Merc, a grocery cooperative operating in Lawrence, has agreed to open a store in downtown KCK and is negotiating an operating agreement with Unified Government officials.
County Administrator Doug Bach announced to Commissioners this week that the $6-million grocery store will be built at 5th Street and Minnesota, on ground now used as a parking lot across from the Reardon Convention Center. It will be 14,000 square feet.
The Merc had been in discussions with the UG for more than a year. The Unified Government will own the store building, with The Merc operating it. The UG will use money from the recent sale of the Hilton Garden Inn to finance the project.
“I’m just excited we have a partner who wants to be in our community,” Commissioner Burroughs said. “I’m hoping they will be received well and treated with the respect that they will have already proven that they deserve in Lawrence,” said Commissioner Tom Burroughs.
In a news letter to its copperative members, The Merc said, “When the UG first approached us to be part of this revitalization plan, we were skeptical. But, as we explored this plan further, we found that many KCK community members have an awareness and a desire for a community-owned grocery store.”
The Merc buys local food, has local partners and will do food education in the store.
A development agreement could be worked out August with formal approval by the UG Commission in the fall.