By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – It took more than six years, countless visits, traffic pattern studies and plenty of discussion, but west Tupelo finally is getting a large grocery store of its own.
Iuka-based Brooks Grocery will open a 27,000-square-foot supermarket next spring in the densely populated and fast-growing area of the All-America City.
City officials joined representatives of Brooks Grocery and the Community Development Foundation to break ground on the project Thursday.
The store, to be located on a 3.5-acre parcel at the intersection of Coley Road and West Jackson Street Extended, is a multimillion-dollar project that will employ 65-75 people, said owner Brooks Davis.
“We looked at several sites, but ultimately this is where the traffic and where the rooftops are with proximity to several subdivisions,” he said. “Plus we have a stoplight, and with the furniture market next door, it was the ideal location for us,” he said.
Davis first looked at building a store in the area off McCullough Boulevard, and the deal came very close to happening. But during those discussions, a grocery store in Iuka went on sale.
Davis, whose family has a deep background in the grocery business, bought that store, renovated it and the first Brooks Grocery opened.
The Tupelo store will be the company’s “flagship” location, he said.
The stone, brick and glass store also will include a 3,000-square-foot AT&T-authorized retailer, plus it has an additional 6,000 square feet of space that will be marketed to restaurants, other retailers and other service providers.
Along with fresh produce and fruit as well as a meat and seafood market, Brooks Grocery in Tupelo will have a deli and bakery. Davis said a pharmacy or floral shop also are options.
Developer V.M. Cleveland, the owner of Cleveland Properties and owner and chairman of the Tupelo Furniture Market, said additional acreage next to the grocery store could be used for future development.
“I think with the opening of the Northern Loop, we’ll see more traffic and development here, and we’re poised to be a part of that,” he said.
Davis said the Tupelo store will mirror the Iuka store in its “cleanliness, friendliness and service.”
He also said the store would buy locally as much as possible and offer organic options as well.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton, who’s familiar with the Iuka store, said the Tupelo location was “ideal.”
“It’s a great store and it will have a tremendous impact,” he said.