Store prepares for FireTree location
FireTree Estates is filling up with competition.
Last week it was announced that O'Bryhim's Thriftway, a full-line grocery store, would be one of the tenants of FireTree Plaza between Ninth and Tenth Streets on the north side of U.S. Highway 56. Other tenants of the commercial center will include a pharmacy, a chiropractor and a liquor store. To the east of the plaza is where the Mid America Bank will be located.
Jeff and Lisa Simpson, owners of the Baldwin City Market, have been planning to build a new store in FireTree Estates since 1997, when they bought the store at 520 High Street. They plan to break ground on the 19,000-square-foot store this month, pending approval from the Baldwin City Planning Commission. The store will be located across from Eighth Street on the north side of the highway.
Jeff Simpson said the plans are being reviewed by the FireTree developer this week, and the plans will go before the Baldwin City Planning Commission later this month.
The new Baldwin City Market will include a pharmacy, a full-service branch of Baldwin State Bank and expanded grocery store services, including a deli, bakery and a cooler for fresh floral arrangements.
"Everybody in town knew we were building a new store, they just didn't know when," said Lisa Simpson.
With twice the space, the Simpsons will expand the produce and meat departments and carry a larger variety of grocery, dairy and frozen food items. They will continue offering existing services, including: video rentals, dry cleaning drop-off and pick-up, special orders and free grocery delivery to Baldwin residents every Friday morning.
"We have a lot of people request a lot of items we don't have room for," Lisa said. "Now we will have the space to have items people want. This store never had a deli or a bakery. It will be nice to have deli and bakery items."
The Simpsons purchased Baldwin City Market in 1997 and have lived in Baldwin for the past two years with their three-year-old daughter Emily. Before coming to Baldwin, the Simpsons were co-owners of the newly built C & S Market in Eudora, which is now owned and managed by Jeff's sister, Julia Chumbley, and her husband, Bryan.
"It was hard to come from a brand new store in Eudora to an older store here," Lisa said. "It will be nice to have a new store with lots of space and new equipment."
Generations of Simpsons have worked in the grocery business. Jeff's older brother, John-Michael Simpson, owns and manages John's Market in Troy. Jeff's grandparents owned and operated the Troy grocery store before Jeff's father took over the business. Now Jeff's father is a partner in all three businesses and travels between the three stores on a weekly basis.
Jeff and Lisa have 15 employees at the current store and plan to hire another 10 at the new store.
The store should be completed by the end of the year. It is being constructed by F.P. Gehring Construction, Atchison. The construction company also built the store in Eudora.