A crowd of about 25 LeClaire residents broke out in a round of applause as the city’s mayor announced that a new Fareway grocery store is coming to LeClaire.
The city has been without a full-service grocery store since 2019 when Slagle Foods closed its doors. The Fareway is expected to open next summer in the former Slagle store at 1301 Eagle Ridge Road, according to city and Fareway officials.
Plans call for a major exterior and interior renovation of the old store site in the coming months to make room for the new Fareway.
“This is a really exciting announcement. … We are getting a full-service grocery store,” LeClaire Mayor Dennis Gerard said late Monday at the LeClaire City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
“We are all very excited about this,” Council Member Amy Blair said during the meeting … “I know a lot of hard work has gone into this.”
Other council members said they have been hearing many positive comments from the public in the past few days over the Fareway plans. “LeClaire has been waiting for this for a really long time,” said Council Member Sara Gravert.
At Monday’s meeting, the council began to consider financial incentives for the new store. Owners of the old grocery store site, GRT QC Properties, have requested a 15-year grant of 80% of the tax increment from the new taxes generated by the improvements made to the property. They also are requesting a $400,000 grant from the city.
During the meeting, Mr. Gerard suggested the grant money could come from the city’s Automated Traffic Enforcement camera revenue.
The tax increment and grant issues are expected to be discussed at the council’s May 2 meeting.
If all goes according to plan, tax increment financing (TIF) and grant plans will be approved this summer, exterior facade work on the old Slagle site will be done this fall, interior renovation work will begin in December or January and the new Fareway store will open for business in the summer of 2023.
“This is definitely an exciting day for LeClaire,” Steve Geifman, managing partner of GRT QC Properties, told the council. “It has taken a group effort to make this happen.”
Here are some of the details to the Fareway project, according to city council documents and information from Fareway:
- The Fareway project will be a more than $4 million investment.
- The new store will employ about 60 workers. About 15 of those workers will be full-time employees. (However, on Monday night, Koby Pritchard, director real estate for Fareway, told the council that up to 20 workers could be full time.)
- The new store will occupy just over 18,000 square feet. Mr. Pritchard said the company does not plan to do any major expansions to the existing site, but it might add a little space to the back of the building near the dock area.
- The new Fareway will include a full-service bakery and meat market. Also, the location will offer FastLanes, a self-service checkout option, and online shopping and curbside pick-up, available at Shop.Fareway.com.
- The project is described as a “full remodel and reconstruction of grocery space” by the city.
- Fareway has been looking to expand to LeClaire for about three years, Mr. Pritchard said.
- The current taxable value of the property at 1301 Eagle Ridge Road is about $1.28 million. Currently, the shopping center at that location has the empty Slagle store and four businesses on the north end of the building: First Central State Bank, Above the Barre Dance Academy, Breakfast at Berries and LaVie Nail Lounge. Mr. Geifman said those four businesses would not be displaced by the Fareway project.
Council members were told the new store would probably not include a pharmacy. However, Mr. Geifman added that, in a separate deal, a small pharmacy is considering opening in LeClaire.
“We are excited to announce plans to expand and want to thank local officials and the Iowa Economic Development Authority for making this project possible,” Reynolds Cramer, Fareway CEO, said in a news release issued after the committee-of-whole meeting. “While residents of LeClaire are familiar with Fareway, we look forward to serving and becoming an integral part of the growing community.”
Also in the release, Mr. Gerard said: “Having a full-service grocery store in our city is the number one requested amenity we hear from our residents. We have been working on this for several years. Fareway is the perfect fit for our community.”
The store and TIF issue are expected to be back on the LeClaire City Council agenda on Monday, May 2.
Fareway is based in Boone, Iowa, and operates 129 stores in a six-state region including several in the Quad Cities region. It is a family-owned business and has more than 12,000 employees.