Fareway commits to Byron for a grocery store
At a special meeting April 9, members of the Byron Economic Development Authority agreed to sell about four acres of land to the Fareway Corporation for about $435,000. At the regular city council meeting that same evening, city council members agreed to the sale, and Mayor Daryl Glassmaker made the announcement, “Fareway is coming to town.”
At the EDA meeting, Glassmaker said, “They wanted to be part of a growing community.”
The EDA and the City of Byron partnered together last fall to purchase about 11 acres from the group of banks that had foreclosed on the property when the Farr Development failed as a result of the 2008 financial meltdown.
The four acres is part of a seven-acre parcel just east of Opportunity Services on the south side of Fourth Street NE. There are several contingencies to the sale, including the requirement that the city change its liquor store ordinance to allow an additional store. Currently, there are three full-service liquor stores in Byron: 3-D’s Sports Bar, Kwik Spirits in the newly-opened Kwik Trip near McDonalds, and Somerby Golf Club.
Council members noted that city officials have been working to bring Fareway to Byron since July of last year. The company considered every available piece of commercial property in Byron before settling on the four-acre parcel.
“They didn’t want to compromise on the size of their store,” noted one official.
The city’s grocery store for many years, the Market Place, closed last summer. The announcement was made in June and within weeks, city officials began working with Fareway.
The Market Place property was purchased by Kwik Trip and was transformed into a new convenience store/liquor store during the past winter. Kwik Trip purchased the Market Place Liquor Store earlier this year and kept it running in its previous location until April 4 when the convenience store opened.
The cost of the transformation was, “north of $6 million,” said a Kwik Trip Official at the convenience store’s grand opening April 10.
Local residents are glad to be getting a full-service store again.
“We’ve missed our store,” said one resident when she heard the news.
The first general store was opened in Byron in 1865, two years before the town’s founding. Since then, it has continuously had a grocery store of some type.
Modern convenience stores have taken over selling many of the products grocery stores used to monopolize but for full-service produce and meat counters, grocery stores are still the main outlets.
Two local business women discussed the news. Rose Lemke is the manager of the local Anytime Fitness and Tessa Olive serves on the Byron school board.
“A grocery store is one of the things that makes us a community,” the women said.
“It’s a necessity,” said Lemke. She quipped, “My son will be 15 next year. He can get a job there.”
Details of the scheduled construction have not yet been released but apparently plans are for the store to open in the summer of 2020.