Warsaw Mayor meets with U.S. 30 Coalition, seeks meeting with Kroger officials

Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer spent Wednesday in Indianapolis working on a pair of projects.

As president of the U.S. 30 Coalition, he led a meeting of that body in the morning and afterward attempted to meet with people who could keep Owen’s Supermarket on West Market Street open.

Thallemer and the rest of the coalition met with Indiana Department of Transportation officials and state representatives of all seven counties along the highway, including Dave Wolkins of Warsaw, to try to secure funding for the necessary environmental impact study for the yet-to-be-determined route.

“We also talked about projects like the ones that will happen at intersections with Anchorage Road and Parker Street, but we were looking more toward the longterm study started so in five years when (Interstate) 69 is completed, hopefully there will be funds to start our project,” Thallemer said.

“We’re really trying to work with our legislators to see how we can get this thing started.”

After the coalition meeting, Thallemer said he went to Kroger’s regional office to try to get a meeting with officials to get them to keep the Owen’s west side location open, or at least find out what plans the company has for the property. Kroger owns Owen’s Supermarkets.

“I wanted to meet with the president of the central division (of the company) and she wasn’t in. She promised a meeting to look into what Kroger’s plans are for that property,” said Thallemer. “I want to talk more in-depth about their decision to close and if there’s any way we can try and change that.

“This is my fourth conversation with them in an attempt to penetrate their corporate office, meet with their president, and talk about the issues and concerns with that store.

“If we were to partner with someone in the future to come in with a store, we want to know where they are in terms of selling the property. We have a pretty good idea of the challenges with that location; it’s their position they haven’t turned a profit there since 2006.

“Nobody wants to come in and put up a grocery store and not make money. We want to find out what the challenges are with the building, with the property and if there’s people we can collaborate with to keep a grocery store downtown.

“But most important, is there anything we can do to stave this closure off? The longer we go, the tougher it becomes. We know there are a lot of people who depend on that grocery store.”