Josh Reed said he worked for five years to bring a Dollar General store to his adoptive hometown of Morrisville.
Reed, who moved with his family to the community six years ago, said he felt strongly it needed a grocery store, and in January 2017, he opened Reed's Mercantile to fill that need.
The business stocked groceries, he said. However, it also struggled.
“I did it for the community,” he said. “We have a real need here for a store.”
So, when Reed, who owns a property management company in Springfield, said he was finally able to reach an agreement with Dollar General earlier this year, he took the opportunity.
“We closed the store when we signed a contract with Dollar General,” he said.
The company broke ground Monday, May 11, on a site at the northeast corner of Maple and South Elm streets.
Reed, who owns the land the store is being built on, said the contract stipulates the company will purchase the land from him and build the store, which he’ll then buy back.
It’s good news for Morrisville, said alderman Dustin Kessler, who will become Morrisville’s mayor pro tem Wednesday, June 3, following the pending resignation of mayor Dan Mellili.
Kessler said the city didn’t discuss the store. However, he said it would fill a need.
“The availability of food is important,” Kessler said. “Plus, when you think in terms of the school district, it serves a large area. We’ve got clientele that will potentially be frequenting this store from Aldrich, Eudora and Brighton, because all those areas feed into the school district. That’s to the benefit of the store and the community.”
Dollar General spokesperson Angela Petkovic confirmed the company is building a store in Morrisville and explained the criteria it used to select the community.
“In selecting store sites, we take a number of factors into consideration, carefully evaluating each potential new store location to ensure we can continue to meet our customers’ price, value and selection needs,” she said. “We further strive to provide convenience for customers who may not have affordable nearby retail options.”
Reed said he’d been told the store could open as soon as September, and Petkovic confirmed the possibility.
“At this time, a store opening is slated for fall 2020, but understand that construction progress may alter this date,” Petkovic said.
She said the store will be staffed by six to 10 employees, “depending on the individual needs of the store.”
Find job applications online at dollargeneral.com/careers.
As a city official, Kessler said he sees the economic impact larger than the jobs a new store could provide.
“That’ll hopefully generate us some pretty good tax revenue, so we can continue forward with our other projects that we would like to do and have been on everybody's mind,” he said.
Reed, too, said he has a lasting effect in mind for the store.
“I think it’ll be successful,” he said. “I know people in Morrisville don’t want to drive to Bolivar or Springfield for groceries. Hopefully, this store stays around forever.”