COLUMBIA CITY — Last week, Kerr Real Estate announced its plans to develop the former Scott’s grocery store location into a multi-use building.
Occupying almost 60 percent of the building will be Dunham’s Sports, a sporting good retailer out of Michigan.
With a store already in Warsaw and Auburn and a new location planned for Fort Wayne, many Columbia City residents are anticipating a positive economic impact.
“I love it. A new business and new jobs,” commented Sheryl L. Crawford-Hackett on The Post & Mail’s Facebook page.
Nearby businesses are hoping to reap the benefits of the new retailer.
Amanda Flannery manages a business within the same shopping plaza as the soon-to-be Dunham’s Sports.
“I am really excited. I am hoping it brings more patrons to the other businesses,” Flannery said. “We now have more empty store fronts. Hopefully this will generate more business for all of us in the plaza, and draw people from out of town to help our community grow.”
But not everyone is excited to see the sporting goods store move into Columbia City. Some residents, although wanting to see growth in the area, would have preferred a different choice of business.
“I would also love to see a restaurant, but I don’t think, with all of the empty retail space we have in this town, that we have to build a new one in the corner of the parking lot,” said Tammy Butherus Wolfe, referring to the outlot possibility offered by Kerr Real Estate.
However, some nah-sayers, like Terry Farris, are sceptical of what the retailer can truly provide.
“I don’t think it will impact the city at all,” Farris said. “I’ve been in the one in Warsaw numerous times and was not that impressed.”
What impact the new store will have on the community is not certain, but city leaders made their expectations known. At the Jan. 22 reception, Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel called the development a “positive move in the right direction.”
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