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Locals welcome new grocery store in Springfield

Gov. Mike DeWine giving out remarks at the grand opening of Groceryland in Springfield.
Alejandro Figueroa
/
WYSO
Gov. Mike DeWine giving out remarks at the grand opening of Groceryland in Springfield.

A new grocery store held its grand opening in Springfield on Monday. Groceryland takes the place of a former Kroger at the same location. The locally owned store gives south Springfield residents a nearby place to get fresh groceries once again.

The former Kroger location just off South Limestone street in Springfield had been sitting empty for almost two years. But now, the shelves inside are stocked full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The store's grand opening was marked with speeches from several community leaders, local residents and even an appearance by Gov. Mike DeWine.

The announcement of the store closure sparked a public outcry back in January of 2020 after community leaders and residents said it would limit access to fresh groceries in the area.

Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said the closure was a blow to the community.

“It was our grocery store, but then it disappeared for a time and we had to scramble to find where to go,” Copeland said. “We were so unhappy with what they [Kroger] had done to the south side of Springfield.”

Shortly after, the city reached an agreement with Kroger to donate the land and equipment to the Clark County Land Bank. After months of negotiations, the city then sold the land to Groceryland.

Groceryland is part of a chain of stores co-owned by local physician Vipul Patel and Ravi Patel, the business’ president. Vipul Patel said he’s cared for this community for years and felt the need to do something about the closure.

“When I heard about the closure of the grocery store on this side of the town, I knew that there [was] a critical need for the community and it needed to be filled,” Patel said. “I wanted to make sure that there was easy access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.”

The business partners bought the chain in 2020. They own another Groceryland in New Lebanon, Hometown Market Place in Waynesville and a third grocery store near Coshocton.

Beverly Davenport, a local south Springfield resident, said she and other locals typically had to drive out of their way to buy groceries after Krogers closed. After shopping at the newly opened store, she said it feels welcoming and clean.

“The aisles are so impeccably organized and everyone is just friendly,” Davenport said. “This is a blessed day.”

The store also created about 80 new jobs, according to Ravi Patel. Vipul Patel said it was a community-led effort and hopes to see more investments that encourage economic growth into the area.

Food reporter Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming