ST. MARYS — The City of St. Marys and the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a “Grocery Store Availability” Town Hall to receive comments and suggestions from residents and business owners at the St. Marys Public Library Basement at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21st.
St. Marys Mayor Lou Radkowski said the goal of the meeting is “to try to take some of that input to let the Chamber hear those concerns to work with local businesses or to help bring someone in so they know what is needed in the town.”
The city, with a population of about 13,000, is currently served by a Save-A-Lot market, as well as multiple small corner markets, butcher, and specialty shops. There is also a Walmart Supercenter in nearby Fox Township.
In the past decade the city has lost two sizable grocery stores — BiLo and Shop ‘N Save.
“A lot of people stop us and talk about what we want,” Radkowski said. “We do have options but obviously folks want something else.”
According to an online map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, St. Marys is considered a low-income census tracts where a significant number or share of residents is more than 1-20 miles from the nearest supermarket, according to information from 2015.
Radkowski said the city’s role in is to create a forum where people can be heard by organizations, such as the Chamber, who are better equipped at attracting new businesses. But, perhaps more importantly, to invite smaller local businesses to use the forum as a form of local market research to help bolster their business to meet the needs of consumers.
“My hope is that this is a new way to engage the community without the formality of a council meeting,” Radkowski said of the public forum.
Seating is limited, so those interested in attending are asked to send an email with contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Officials say this will not reserve your seat, but if there is a high demand a second session may be scheduled.
The Children’s Room also located in the basement level of the Library will be available during the event to make it easier for families to attend.