Rockford (WTVO) – Its been six years since Schnucks shut down its grocery store on Rural Street. After more than half a decade sitting vacant, it looks like someone will finally move in, and it comes in the form of a non-profit dedicated to helping the area’s homeless.
“At this point we’re looking for someone to go in there and actually make that property viable”, said Rockford’s Alderman Tony Gasparini.
The lights are on, but no one is home at the former Schnucks on Rural St. That soon could change.
“What I do know about the Carpenter’s Place at this point is they’re looking to open a store”, the city’s 2nd ward alderman said. Mustafa Abdall, the Director of the Winnebago Emerging Small Business Association added, “I know what they’re doing and their goals and their missions, they are super people. They are doing a great job so yeah I love it. I’m more happy than I was a few minutes ago.”
Carpenter’s Place is looking to turn the former Schnucks grocery store into what Gasparini calls a high end Goodwill. Mustafa Abdall says the new store will fit right in with the neighboring businesses.
“I think this will be good for this business and the other business owners because they will support each other. They will be busy, the client will go there and he would come here and buy soda, a drink and food or whatever. So as a business I’m sure it’s good”, Abdall said. He continued, “regardless of the concept of the new business, opening a new business in the community is something new, it’s new blood, new business.” Alderman Gasparini added, “it’s an empty lot it’s horrible to look at, it’s sad. And I think to have a neighbor there that we can trust, and that we can support I think that’s wonderful.”
The sign marking the store’s closing date was posted 6 years ago. In that 6 year time span one of the alternative shopping locations listed, the Schnucks on Rockton Avenue, has closed as well. It’s because of that Alderman Gasparini says the need for a grocery store in this community is still prevalent.
“It’s frustrating for sure, I mean the food desert, I’ve done a few interviews concerning the food deserts in Rockford. And you know, I mean no matter how much you bang your head it’s just, you’re not going to get a grocery store in anyplace anymore”, said Ald. Gasparini.
Eyewitness News did reach out to Carpenter’s Place for an interview but didn’t hear back. The non-profit’s purchasing of the former Schnucks property will go in front of Rockford’s Code and Regulation Committee at Monday’s meeting.