Monday, December 13, 2010

Commerce City Gathers Food for Thought

Residents share stories on need for grocery store in northern part of city

COMMERCE CITY – Top-ten lists, personal anecdotes and concerns about the environment were just some of the themes expressed by residents during the city’s “Operation Food Network Project;” an effort by the city to collect information from residents on the need for a grocery store in the city’s northern area.

“We’ve heard loud and clear the needs of our residents in the north, and we share their disappointment with the lack of progress by Walmart on its proposed store at 104th and Tower Road,” said Jerry Flannery, Commerce City’s City Manager. “We’ve remained focused on not placing all our eggs in one basket, and making sure that the path to a storefront in the north is as streamlined and attractive to potential partners as possible. That’s why I supported our Economic Development Division’s Operation Food Network.”

During the past two months, residents in the north were asked to share their stories with the city, with the ultimate goal of being able to add yet another compelling argument to the case to get a grocery retailer to move to the northern area of the city.

“The demographics show that we’re an attractive location for any of the major national grocers, and our City Council is generous in terms of their willingness to negotiate incentives,” said Brittany Morris, Economic Development Director. “One way we thought we’d reach a tipping point is to promote a grassroots effort to ensure that potential partners understand the depth of the market need in the north. From that, came Operation Food Network.”

Nearly 20 submissions have been received to date, and most tell the tale of the need to have a grocery store in close proximity to home. One submission listed a resident’s choice to not buy ice cream in the summer, as it would be “soup when I got home.”

Other residents shared stories of tax revenue and environmental impacts brought on by having to drive many miles to grocery stores outside city limits. In the words of one resident, “It’s sad to know that (tax dollars from) grocery sales are going to neighboring cities.” Another wrote, “The distance I drive to the store offsets the green-warm-fuzzy I get when I recycle the plastic grocery bags.”

“We thank all those who took time to share their experiences,” Morris said. “These heartfelt messages – most serious, some humorous – will certainly help us tell the human side of the story to potential grocery partners and prove to them without a doubt this is an untapped market.”

For a more detailed account of the results of Operation Food Network, read the Dec. 15 edition of Commerce Connection – a monthly e-mail newsletter published by the city with a focus on Economic Development news. Not a subscriber? Send your e-mail address to with the words “Subscribe – Commerce Connection” in the subject line.

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