New Grocery Store Long Time Coming for Green Country Community
For the first time in 15 years, one local community will be able to shop in their town for groceries.Apple Mart is set to open in just two weeks. Looking around the 19,000 square foot store, you see a lot of work that needs to be done."It looks a little rough right now but the next two weeks it will come together," President, Doc's Food Stores Inc., Jim Brown said.Local leaders for Oologah have been working for the past ten years to get a grocery store in the city limits because they need this type of development to grow."It will draw a lot of people in here. A lot of people want to come up here and live. We have the best schools, we have no drugs, and no crime," Town of Oologah Mayor, Jerry Holland said.Holland has been the Mayor in Oologah for more than 20 years and said there are more than 1,200 residents in the city who have to travel to get what they need."We have a high elderly population up here, and they have to drive 10 to 15 miles to get groceries. What this does is most of these people live right in town, they can walk to the grocery store," Holland said.Along with the regular items at grocery stores, Apple Mart will have JB's Cafe, which will have hot ready-to-eat food you can just pick up. This store isn't just something new for the town."This is a whole new experience for our team. We are having to hire brand new people. We have bought stores in the past and pride ourselves on keeping the people that were there, turning the business around, rehabilitating the store so to speak and coming from the ground up, it's a challenge," Brown said.Brown has been in the grocery store business all his life, and he has never opened a store in a town that didn't have one to begin with. They have hired 60 people to open this store and 58 of them are from a 12 mile radius of the store. The design of the store didn't just have the local residents in mind, there will be a cooler with anything Oologah Lake-goers might need."They don't have to bring anything with them to the lake except pull their boat, stop load up and go to the lake," Brown said.Holland said the savings in time and gasoline will be great for every resident. He also said the city is paying for the grocery store in a TIF project and it will be paid off in about 15 years. The doors to Apple Mart are set to open November 11.