Possible co-op as solution for Kroger closures - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Possible co-op as solution for Kroger closures

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

The two Kroger stores on Wisconsin Avenue and Harmon Highway are set to close at the end of January.

Now a group of lawmakers have solutions cued up.

Senator Dave Koehler and State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth said they are getting phone calls and having conversations with the community about the Kroger closures. 

In response to public feedback, they are considering a co-op or other initiatives to make sure residents do not lose access to high-quality foods.

There were 60 or more people at the meeting in response to the Kroger closures.

 "There was a need to focus our discussions and try to get something done," stated Koehler. 

Those in attendance came up with their own ideas about where to go from here.

For example, some want a safe place, while others want to meet the standards of a full-service grocery store. 

"It's clear that the community is going to have to take control of their own destiny on this," said Koehler. 

Koehler also made clear it will take a lot of dedication and time to succeed.

He said they will need federal, state and local resources.

"Whether it's government resources, whether it's dollar resources in the community, we've got to make sure we have a plan to  succeed. What we don't need is a failed attempt," he said. 

Craig Williams with South Side Mission hosted this meeting and agrees. 

 "That's very important. It has to be a very strategic effort. It has to be a very assertive effort to make sure we aren't just at the drawing board but that we get those plans off the drawing board," stated Williams. 

Another option is a grocery store concept. 

"The hesitancy in the past from these grocery store concepts was that the store that we were trying to provide them, the Save-A-Lot location, was so small. Now it's a game changer. These stores are a lot bigger and have better access in everything," said Councilwoman Denise Moore. 

Moore said the key to success is more customers.

"When a store comes in, we have to support them. We have to go there," stated Moore. 

City leaders are having meetings Saturday morning to let the community know what is happening and how they can participate in the process.

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