Osawatomie finalizes grocery operator incentive agreements

After the closure of Ron’s Country Market, Osawatomie’s only dedicated grocery store, earlier this year, city officials scrambled to come up with a plan to provide in-town groceries to its residents. They decided to offer an incentive designed to bring in interested grocery operators, who they hoped would supply experience and a stable presence to the community.

Early in August, Osawatomie City Council members discussed two agreements that they believed fell in line with their desire.

One was a storage agreement with resident Mike Moon, who owns the facilitiy that housed the former grocery store. Before the store was Ron’s Country Market, Moon ran his own grocery business, Moon’s Hometown Market, in the facility. He also has locations in La Cygne and Humbolt. He leased the building to Ron and Sandra Kleier when he decided to close his Osawatomie location. As part of the terms of the storage agreement, the store’s equipment such as freezers and shelves can be stored in the facility until it’s sold or there is a transfer of ownership. The city decided to purchase the equipment, which is appraised at more than $360,000, as part of its incentive measures and began working with First Option Bank, the property lien holder, and Moon to make it happen.

The purchase would be for $150,000.

Once the equipment is purchased, the city plans to finance the loan on a five-year basis with any new potential owner. The incentive to the new operator would be paid for from available funds in the city’s operating budget with the incentive funds being recouped at the end of the five years through tax collections and utility payments.

Moon will receive $1,000 per month in credit against his previous month’s utility bill so long as the storage agreement is in effect. In addition, the city will pay utility usage when it has to turn on the equipment or provide climate control.

If the store is sold for another purpose, the city will have 60 days to move the equipment to a new location. The agreement also requires that the city have insurance on the property and liability insurance for when it accesses the building.

(Read more: The Miami County Republic)