The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Hurley residents no longer without grocery store

 

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

LEN ZALESKI, of Hurley, pushes his cart from Pat's IGA Foods in Hurley Friday afternoon. He was one of the first customers in the new store that opened that afternoon. He said there were quite a few people in the store and was happy to have the convenience of a grocery store back in Hurley.

HURLEY - After a wait of 1,014 days, Hurley finally has a grocery store again.

The wait was just a little longer Friday, as final preparations pushed a 10 a.m. store opening to 1:30 p.m., but a good-sized crowd flowed through the doors and check-out lanes.

Store manager Rich Friederichs, of Hurley, said business had been going real good about two hours after they opened.

Standing at the front door greeting customers as they came in and thanking them as they left, Friederichs said they'd had a good turnout. He has managed other grocery stores in the region.

He said the store employs 45 people, about half of which are full-time.

Community officials called the re-opening of a grocery store in Hurley an important occasion. The location near the intersection of Tenth Avenue and U.S. 51 had been a grocery store for decades under a couple different names. Super One closed its store there March 8, 2014, after an extensive remodel of its store in Ironwood.

Hurley Mayor and Iron County Board Chairman Joe Pinardi said the store will help the community attract other businesses. "It's hard to do that without a grocery store," he said.

He also pointed to tax benefits of having the store, as the county has a half-percent sales tax on the non-food sold in the store. The store is also a water customer for the city. "A very important water customer out on the end of the line, keeping the water flowing, besides being a purchasing customer," he said.

Rita Franzoi, of the Hurley Chamber of Commerce, said she was "really excited about (the store), especially the convenience of having a grocery store in town.

"From the community standpoint, I'm excited about job opportunities and the tax dollars. It's such a solid plus for our entire community," she said.

Franzoi also pointed out that many visitors who stay in the condos and motels near the store will be able to shop there.

Kelly Klein, of the Iron County Development Zone, called the increased employment brought by the store "huge in this area."

He also talked about the community impact of the store. "Community-wise, losing a grocery store like we did is like losing your school or your post office or your bank. It's really an important part of the community."

Besides the simple availability of food and its convenience, Klein said there's something about the store as a community gathering place - a place where you see your friends and neighbors. "It's a meeting place. You go there and see your neighbors and strike up a conversation," he said. "It's going to be a great thing to have it back."

Klein's office helped secure a $250,000 state grant to help get the project started. He said there was about $3 million in private investment, as well.

The building is owned by Great Lakes Foods. It is leasing to Pat's Foods.

Besides a large variety of grocery items, including meats, bakery, deli and liquor, the store also offers several short aisles of hardware along the south wall. The store's grocery brand is IGA. The hardware brand is Ace.

The store plans to be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 
 

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