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Shelby County officials dug their shovels into the warm earth Thursday to break ground for the new Kroger Marketplace, and they were excited about a business expanding rather than one having to close its doors.
“Kroger is an absolutely fabulous corporate partnership in Shelby County, and it’s very exciting to see them continue to flourish during this economic recession,” Shelby County Judge Executive Rob Rothenburger said. “I’m very excited, because the new store will be twice as large.
“Also, I’m sure they will need to hire more employees, so we’ll have some new jobs coming in as well.”
Bobby Hudson, president of the Shelby County Industrial and Development Corporation, echoed Rothenburger’s sentiments.
“It demonstrates the growth in the community and the confidence that Kroger has in us and in the community to put in a megastore,” he said.
Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty agreed: “They’ve made a big investment in the community.”
Kroger President John Hackett said that about 200 new employees will be needed to staff the new facility, and he said it would be only the third “Marketplace” Kroger in this part of the state, along with the two in Lexington. There is a sprinkling of them in Northern Kentucky.
The new store, to be located at 311 Boone Station Road, will replace the old one nearby that has served Shelby County since 1992.
Kroger has been in Shelbyville for 60 years altogether Hackett said, first on Main Street (two locations), then in Governor’s Square, then on Boone Station Road.
Rothenburger said that when Kroger moves into its new facility, the old building would become available for another business to occupy.
“They have a no competition clause, so another grocery can’t move in, but it would be great to see another company like a Target or something come in, because that’s still a great building that has been very well-maintained by Kroger,” he said.
The new Kroger Marketplace will be more than double the size of the current store, with 123,000 feet of space to the present store’s 57,000 square feet.
Specialty departments will include furniture, home décor, bed and bath, kitchen place, office and school supplies, toy department, The Bistro, specialty cheese shop, salad bar, fresh sushi, Starbucks, Floral Shop, Fred Meyer Jewelers and a pharmacy.
Kroger District Manager Wendy McCarty said the facility will be top-notch.
“We are so excited about our new store becoming a reality,” she said. “Our customers here in Shelby County deserved the best shopping experience and that is what we plan to deliver.”
Kroger Shelbyville Manager Jeff Disponette said the new store will be the “best of the best.”
“It’s going to be phenomenal,” he said.