New grocery stores will need community support to strive

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Development continues to grow in downtown Eau Claire, and soon, here could be two new grocery stores opening, one on Water Street and one on Graham Avenue.

“Convenience stores have become the corner grocery stores. People have said they would like a grocery store downtown but grocery stores are based on volume,” says Eau Claire Chamber President Bob McCoy.

But McCoy says the community will have to back that need, with business.

With its doors not even open for a year, Charly's Market, that was formerly located downtown, was forced to close in 2013.

“I think they found that with the one that opened up, there was not enough traffic, not enough sales and as a result, it was a challenge and it ended up closing,” says McCoy.

But some people say they are more than excited for the new developments, and believe they will last, especially near the university, for college students.

“I think it's going to change a lot for them, to not have to drive to other parts of Eau Claire for what they need in this area, especially for the students who don't drive or have the transportation, they would have everything they need on Water Street then,” says Andrew Califf who works on Water Street.

“It's somewhere where students can go get food, and walk to it. It's probably a 10 minute walk from the dorms and all the other student housing that's in the area, then they don't have to get in a car and go somewhere else. It's going to be good,” says student Hunger Henning.

According to McCoy, it's all about how these stores set a reasonable profit margin.

“There will be more housing downtown, and obviously more housing on Water Street. That will be very key and critical. If people like what's there and it's convenient, then they'll most likely go there,” says McCoy.

It's still unclear when these stores will open. That's all pending construction and remodeling.

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