City Press Release on Grocery Store Recruitment, 7.21.16

Update: the press release was changed during the day from its original wording, as indicated below.

Posted immediately below is the full and unaltered text of a City of Whitewater press release on recruitment of a grocery store. Needless to say, I don’t represent the city, but it’s fair to pass along the complete municipal press release —

Press Release
Grocery Store Recruitment Update
July 21, 2016

Daniels’ Sentry Foods closed its doors for the last time in December 2015. Since that time, the Whitewater Common Council and Community Development Authority (CDA) have been rigorously engaged in efforts to recruit another grocery store in Whitewater.

As part of the City’s efforts, the CDA commissioned Chuck Perkins, a respected marketing consultant in the grocery sector, to conduct a grocery market analysis in order to identify various locations for a new store, as well as clarify a store size the Whitewater community could support. Based upon his market analysis, Mr. Perkins indicated that a smaller store located at the site of the now vacant Daniels’ Sentry Foods building has the greatest opportunity for long-term success. Shortly after the completion and release of the market analysis report, the City of Whitewater was contacted by an independent grocer interested in potentially locating a store in the community.

Since the first contact with the interested grocer, city officials and staff have been working closely with the potential grocer to develop a plan which would allow for the establishment of a new grocery store in Whitewater. As of Tuesday, July 19, both parties have verbally agreed to a tentative framework that provides for a grocery operation to be located at the site of the former Daniels’ Sentry Foods.

Earlier this year, the UW-Whitewater Foundation, in an effort to address UW-Whitewater space needs on campus, submitted a formal offer to purchase the Daniels Sentry property. Their offer has been accepted and a lease agreement for use of the space awaits confirmation by the UW System Board of Regents.

Due to the University’s need for additional space to allow for campus growth and the public’s need for a grocery store to bolster the Whitewater economy, the City is actively seeking to create a mutually beneficial solution that would allow for a grocery store to locate in the former Daniels’ Sentry building while still addressing the long-term space needs of the University.

Residents interested in expressing their sentiment on this issue can contact the Common Council directly at commoncouncil@whitewater-wi.gov. or contact the UW-Whitewater Chancellor at kopperb@uww.edu Substituted text: Comments submitted will also be shared with UW-Whitewater Foundation and UW-Whitewater officials.

Questions or concerns regarding grocery recruitment efforts can be directed to Patrick Cannon, CDA Director, pcannon@whitewater-wi.gov, 262-473-0148 or to Cameron Clapper, City Manager, cclapper@whitewater-wi.gov, 262-473-0100.

9 thoughts on “City Press Release on Grocery Store Recruitment, 7.21.16

  1. Biggest question is why has to be at Sentry.I don’t get that part. Nice to have grocery but I doesn’the matter what part of town.

  2. It is amazing how big this issue has become. It matters a lot but it’s snowballed massively. Kudos for putting the announcement on your website but people just want something somewhere.This may not seem like a top issue but it has been crucial for lots of residents.

  3. More work on the grocery and less on hauling crap to town would be nice. City hall needs to focus on clean development, fixing roads, and actually make it nicer to live in Whitewater. There should be ZERO discussion of silly ideas especially when the fundamentals are in jeopardy.

  4. The location is irrelevant. Let’s face it: Sentry could NOT survive next to Walmart. Why…? Because they did not offer what the majority of this community’s shoppers—the college students want—convenience and low price…they all drive fast on W. Main St. to run in and run out of Walmart.
    A new grocer will have to offer an exciting new shopping experience…think Festival, Sendik’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joes (which is owned by Aldi), or, gasp, yes, even Aldi…

  5. I completely agree with “The Phantom Stranger”. A new store has to be different from what Wal-Mart offers or it’s not going to thrive. There have to be distinctive things where it encourages people to keep going back. That’s critical. A store coming in cannot copy what the old store did and make it.

  6. People want a grocery but the details afterthat don’t matter much to people except for a good selection. There are views all over the place on other aspects.

  7. Typing on an iPhone. The city should stay out the grocery business and allow a business owner to locate where he or she desires.

    Reading the chronological epistle on-line demands more questions than presented answers. Did the store make money, lose money, was the store too big or the owner looking to retire and sell out for a cash infusion? Who really knows..

    The square footage is too big for a grocer to compete with W. Sub-divide, maybe?

    I shopped Sentry, not exclusively but a majority of the time. Were prices high? Not high enough to spend money on fuel and take the time to drive to Janesville thus cancelling any perceived savings.

    Support local merchants and they will stay.

  8. Thanks much for these comments. They’re all appreciated. I’ve really approached this mostly from an open-government, public’s right-to-know perspective. I think that the whole issue would have drawn less swirl if more information had come out sooner. I’m convinced that more information – and more questions about that information, and answers to them – makes for better policy. I’ll happily post documents or statements as they come out.

    On the business side, it’s a true challenge because it’s hard to engineer success in a low-margin (mostly), high-volume (to survive) industry. That was and is my thinking in the post entitled Grocery Preliminaries: “maintaining [a grocery] requires attracting and retaining customers apart from a public subsidy. To do so will require both gathering consumer demand now satisfied elsewhere and, longer-term, generating new demand from within the area.”

    My own view comes out like ORD’s, although I know that other commenters seem to want the grocery even with a subsidy (but don’t seem concerned about where it’s located).

    I’m convinced that medium and long-term survival will have nothing to do with a public subsidy, but rather will depend on consumer satisfaction with the goods, presentation, and service offered. There’s no way for a supermarket to get around a free market.

  9. Seems like parts of the City’s government are not in step with others.
    But yes there was talk (not in newspapers however) about university use of building before now so you are right it was not a surprise to all people.You also have the want a grocery in Sentry people, the want a grocery anywhere in Whitewater people, and the don’t care so much people.
    Get this though: even after a grocery you can bet there will be people who can’t afford food. Puts it in perspective for me anyway.

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