White's Foodliner plans to open grocer in St. John

ST. JOHN, Kan. (KSNW) - It's news St. John residents have been waiting for.

"I was ecstatic," said Dawn Siebert, after learning about the new grocery story coming to town. "I think it's going to be a wonderful thing."

Dottie Sheets echoed Siebert's and said, "I think it'd be really beneficial to the community."

White's Foodliner, a family-owned business, signed a Letter of Intent to open a store in St. John.

"It is contingent on our ability to construct and finance a building for them to operate their business in," said Stafford County Economic Development director Carolyn Dunn. "But providing we can meet all those conditions, they are ready to come here and do business here in St. John."

For more than a year now, residents have been shopping at the local Dollar General or driving miles and miles to other cities for groceries.

"I know for myself, I use to go to the grocery store, if not daily, you know multiple times a week, and we just don't have that convenience like we used to," said Siebert.

For Sheets, who just moved to St. John, she sees the new grocer as a great opportunity for growth.

"The reason I moved here is because it is growing and it's getting bigger," she said. "So my hopes is that it does come so that more people will move into the community."

Officials said White's Foodliner will be located on Fifth Avenue, along highway 281. It will include a pharmacy and possibly a fuel station.

"By including fuel sales with this grocery story, as many major grocers do, we can increase non-fuel sales at this grocery store by 10 to 15 percent," Dunn said.

Officials expect the new grocer to be about a $2.5 dollar project -- with funding coming from the city, grants and private donations.

County officials started looking for contractors. They expect to begin construction in the fall, with the store opening by spring of 2018.

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