Erie reflects on first quarter with grocery store under city ownership

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ERIE, Ks. — When you think of city employees, you might think about ones in government, maintenance – but what about a butcher?

That’s the case in Erie, Kansas.

It all started last year when the only supermarket in Erie was put up for sale. So, the city bought it. It’s something that’s not only kept a fixture in the community in place – but has also provided benefits to those who previously didn’t have them.

Cindy Lero, Erie City Clerk, said, “It’s a very important part, if you lose your grocery store, the town starts to wither.”

So the city of erie decided to save it.

Last year, with community support, the city bought Stubs Market. Now called Erie Market, it’s just finished it’s first quarter under city management – and it’s off to a great start.

Cindy Garland, Erie Market Store Manager, said, “Oh it’s been great, the city has been very supportive.”

“The first quarter is showing strong, that we are making some money to put back,” said Lero.

The store is giving back even more. Since the turnover, all of the employees started to receive benefits they didn’t have before.

“They became the city of Erie employees, so now they have all the benefits that we have.”

“We are offered insurance for full-time people and retirement, we are also give them paid vacations and sick days too,” said Garland.

Benefits can often be a struggle for local companies to offer, making the hiring process difficult.

“If you want to be hired, that’s one thing you’re looking for is insurance, it’s part of the pay package really. It means a lot, before when we worked for mom and pop places, it’s hard for the mom and pop places to afford the insurance, so with the city and they have more employees, its a better opportunity for sure for them.”

With this new resource, it’s helped the store further develop their team.

“It brought in some really good employees, of course we kept the employees that were already here, we switched them over which they were very thankful for.”

Helping keep the city of Erie a little more convenient.

“Sometimes people don’t have time to run to the next town over, and so we try to carry everything they could possibly need.”

The city of Erie recently received a loan for rural development to help put more money back into the city after buying the store. City officials hope to have an official grand opening of Erie Market sometime this Summer.

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