After Years Of Waiting, Ground Breaks For A Grocery Store In Vinton County: Ohio Matters

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After years of waiting, ground breaks for a grocery store in Vinton County: Ohio Matters

First dirt turned on new Vinton County supermarket Print Email >Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com By Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland.com The Plain Dealer

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on March 20, 2017 at 1:42 PM, updated March 20, 2017 at 1:43 PM

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McARTHUR, Ohio--For the first time in three years, rural Vinton County is poised to get what most counties take for granted: a grocery store.

In a rainy field on the east side of the county seat of McArthur, after a fanfare from the local high school marching band, elected officials and Campbell's Market on Monday broke ground on a new 12,000-square-foot store, scheduled to open in August.

Ohio Matters is a series examining important national issues through the eyes of people living across the state.

It's something that residents in this county of 13,000 have been awaiting for years, following the closure of the SuperValu grocery store in 2013. Since then, residents in this isolated, poor county have had to travel up to half an hour each way to shop in neighboring cities such as Athens, Chillicothe, Jackson, and Logan - a tough chore in bad weather or for those who can't drive.

Vinton County grocery store groundbreaking brings marching band

"Nowhere else in the state would you even think about a grocery store being the major issue of the county," said state Sen. Bob Peterson, who helped attract the market to McArthur.

Locals do have some options: dollar stores in McArthur have frozen pizzas. Gas stations have small deli sections. If a neighbor needs a head of lettuce, a local diner owner will sell from his inventory.

But the opening of Campbell's Market will mean a return of fresh fruit, fresh meat, and other healthy foods that aren't widely available here.

At the groundbreaking, Rhoda Price, director of Vinton County Senior Centers, held up a banana. "How would you like to travel 10 miles one way to get one of these, or would you rather stay home and take potassium?" she asked. "That's a choice you get around here."

Monday's groundbreaking came after years of work by federal, local and state elected officials to lure in a new grocery store. Campbell's Market will receive about $1.6 million in state and local grants and other perks to build its store here, according to co-owner Rick Campbell. About $700,000 of that comes from the state's Healthy Food for Ohio program, according to state Rep. Ryan Smith, the powerful House Finance Committee chair who helped arrange the grant.

Campbell said the store will have about 30 full- and part-time employees.

This is the fourth effort to reopen a grocery store in Vinton County since 2013. Most recently, the Save-a-Lot chain last year rejected $750,000 in government funding to build a location here.

Campbell said this effort won't be another false start. "It's definitely the real deal," he said, noting his company intends to begin construction next week.

Janie Fannin, the village of McArthur's fiscal officer, said given the quick timetable for opening, she's confident the store will open.

Fannin said she usually drives down to Wellston, in Jackson County, to do her shopping. Other times, she heads to the larger towns of Jackson or Chillicothe.

Like many other residents here, Fannin often includes grocery shopping as part of regular all-day excursions to other counties on weekends - get groceries at Wal-Mart, go shopping at other nearby stores, then eat at an Olive Garden or other restaurant before heading home. To succeed, Campbell's Market will have to persuade residents to break that ritual.

Fannin, for her part, said she'll be happy to have a store nearby.

"It will be nice to have a store, because especially for holidays or baking, if you forget something, they don't have it up here, and you're like, 'Are you kidding me?'" she said.

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Source : http://www.cleveland.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/03/after_years_of_waiting_ground.html

After years of waiting, ground breaks for a grocery store in Vinton County: Ohio Matters
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