A new store opened its doors Thursday to a neighborhood that city planners say has historically lacked easy access to necessities such as groceries.
The Niemann family of Quincy cut a ribbon inside their 100th County Market location at Second St. and Carpenter in Springfield.
Mayor Michael Houston and other city leaders were on hand at the event to applaud years of re-development work.
That corner had long been considered an eyesore with abandoned properties and vacant lots.
The City assisted with acquisition of the land and put $2 million in tax increment financing toward the job.
Planning and Economic Development Director Mike Farmer hopes it will act as a catalyst for further business growth near the city’s downtown and medical district (interview audio below).
Niemann Foods says 110 full and part-time staff have been hired from the area. The store’s floor plan and design has been called more “urban” than most County Market locations.
The smaller store features a coffee shop with drive-through window and upstairs lounge/dining area with free wireless internet access. A similar store has been built in the heart of the University of Illinois’ Champaign-Urbana campus.
-Peter Gray, WUIS
Interview w/ Dir. Farmer .mp3
Interview w/ Ward 5 Ald. Sam Cahnman .mp3
Interview w/ SDAT Action Committee Member Chuck Pell.mp3