Germantown Hills seeks grocery chain

Nick Vlahos GateHouse News Service

Officials in Germantown Hills are shopping for a grocery store.

They have sent a letter to Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc. about opening a store in town, according to Village President Kenny Mitchell. Similar letters are to be sent to other chains, ones that specialize in small-town shopping, he said Thursday night.

The village hasn’t had a full-line grocery since December 2010, when Jubilee Foods closed. The closest alternatives are in East Peoria, Metamora or Washington.

“People don’t like the fact that when they run out of certain items, they have to drive 15 minutes,” Trustee Brian Wysocki said following the Village Board’s regular meeting. “There’s no selection in the area.

“You’ve got frozen pizzas, and that’s all you’ve got.”

According to Mitchell and Wysocki, Hy-Vee has been considering the establishment of stores in smaller communities. Hy-Vee has yet to respond to the village’s inquiry, they said.

The Hy-Vee letter and the others offer demographic information, median income levels and why the village believes it’s a good place to do business, according to Wysocki.

“What we’re trying to show is the amount of disposable income people have and will be spending on groceries and what they currently spend locally, which is next to nothing,” he said. “They want options, and we don’t have that right now.”

Officials from Haddad’s West Peoria Market, long a staple in that community, showed interest in establishing a second location at the old Jubilee site, according to Mitchell. Nothing came of it.

Wysocki indicated misconceptions about the Germantown Hills business climate might be contributing to the grocery dearth. He said the village has become less restrictive regarding signs and advertising.

“We’re willing to work with them,” he said. “We’re willing to do what we can to get them here.”

The latest grocery push began about a month ago. When it will end, nobody seems to know.

“We’re going to keep doing it until we land a store,” Mitchell said.