Thank you, John Williams!
The future of Juneau is much brighter now for our downtown grocery store and the terrific people who work there. We will soon see a Foodland IGA sign over the entrance. It will be right over that little eating area where the guys in the ball caps go to drink coffee, women meet their friends to catch up, and folks eat lunch.
There was an IGA store in Montello, Wisconsin, where my mom grew up. Her sister, Kathleen, would call it the “Igga” Store. My first thought when I saw the article in the August 31st Juneau Empire was of Aunt Kathleen.
My second thought was of tremendous relief for the women and men who have worked together at Foodland for so long, and for our downtown and Douglas neighbors who know they will have a store close by.
Community grocery stores are important, not just to keep body and soul together, but to build community. When a big store is vacant, the stores around it start to go dark. There’s a giant sucking sound of vitality out of a community as a once full parking lot stands empty, and the little businesses along the rims of the mall struggle.
We shop at Fred’s most of the time because it’s close, but if I’m downtown and need something, I often stop by Foodland. I shop there enough to know where things are. Invariably, I run into somebody I know and stop to chat and catch up. There’s a good vibe in that store.
So, I was watching the news about its sale closely. We don’t have to worry about it being dark and shuttered now. John did his homework. He personally toured other stores that the Myers Group owns to “inspect their quality”. The article quotes John as saying that, “Tyler Myers is an experienced retailer – a quality guy and someone who knows how to empower those around him to provide the best possible shopping experience for the customers.”
It’s a win-win.
So, thanks, John, and thanks to Gary Rosenberger of Foodland, Inc., for wanting Juneau to have a “community driven shopping experience.” This is all great news.