GROVES — Groves City Manager and Economic Development Corp. (EDC) Director D. E. Sosa said they've been discussing what will happen to four vacant buildings in Groves for the last two years. He said all of them are eligible for EDC incentives for improvements.
Sosa said plans are underway for the old Super K-Mart, Wachovia Bank, Renaissance Hospital, and Fred Miller's.
The former Super-Kmart has been vacant officially since 2005. Sosa said the 166 thousand square-foot building has had other tenants off and on, but hasn't been used to it's full potential for some time. He said he's not aware of any contracts finalized at this time, but thinks the buyer will make it a warehouse. Sosa explained that potential lighting improvements and safety and security measures are all items eligible under EDC for reimbursement.
As for Wachovia, Sosa said it'll likely be torn down. The old bank suffered severe damage during Hurricane Rita. Sosa said out of all of the properties, they know the least about Wachvoia. The property manager out of Houston did inform Sosa several weeks ago that he was going to have the building under contract.
Sosa said they're waiting for the owner to do something with the old Renaissance Hospital. It's been vacant since November of 2015. He's heard talk of a stand alone emergency room, but said he doesn't have all the information. Sosa believes it will be torn down as well.
Sosa said the purchaser of the former Fred Miller's Outdoor Equipment property hopes to put a Mexican restaurant there. Right now, the purchaser is trying to get the property next door as well to have enough room for the building and a parking area.
He's excited for the potential growth these new businesses could bring to Groves.
"The growth has been people taking a chance and wanting to do something they've never done before," said Sosa.
Missy Lowe is one of those people that took that chance. After being diagnosed with cervical cancer, she opened "Hippie Chic" boutique downtown.
"I'm a cancer patient so I had to quit my corporate job and come here," said Lowe, "I can't go work so every purchase that's purchased in my store means something to me, it keeps my door open one more day so that matters."
Lowe said new businesses help remind people businesses like hers are there. She said Groves has a lot to offer, especially in the downtown area.
Lowe said like many can relate, sometimes it's paycheck to paycheck, but she's pushing through. She encourages everyone to shop local and help support your community.
Just down the road for Lowe is Angie Cook's bakery, "Sugar Momma." Cook said having different businesses coming in is beneficial for everyone.
"They may not come see you but they're going to go see someone else and they're going to go back to you," said Cook.
Cook said as a new business, she's had a lot of success. They've expanded their hours and her husband was even able to quit his job to help out at the bakery. She's excited for the potential success of more businesses coming in and having similar success.
To help promote local businesses, Cook and others downtown are hosting a "Rock the Block" community gathering. It will be held September 29th from 2 p.m. - 9 p.m.. They have over 47 vendors signed up, live music, and food trucks. Cook invites the community to come get out of the house, get a head start on Christmas shopping, and enjoy the fall weather coming.