Kroger sign says store is coming|[06/01/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 1, 2007

A sign along Pemberton Square Boulevard gives the official word that Kroger will be moving across the street into the former Kmart building.

&#8220Kroger: Coming Soon” are the words on a painted sign in front of the empty 87,000-square-foot building, vacant since 2002.

The grocery chain has not provided a timetable or specific plans for the move into what will be its fourth and largest location in the city. David Chadwick, advertising manager for the Kroger Delta Marketing Area headquartered in Memphis, did not return phone calls.

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Kroger Co., which has operated its store in Pemberton Plaza since 1985, purchased the building in December, but was undecided on whether it would demolish the current structure or retrofit the building, built in 1991, said Mayor Laurence Leyens.

The company has decided to tear down the Kmart building and put a new Kroger store on the 7.5-acre tract, he said.

No official plans have been submitted to the city’s Inspections Department, said its assistant director, Wayne Scott. He said a preliminary site review was done about six months ago.

&#8220They have not submitted a site plan review, which is the first step in getting a site permit,” he said.

A Vicksburg Realtor who was not involved in the sale has said she heard the company does plan to sell gasoline, which would mark the return of a fuel discounter to the city.

Pump-n-Save, affiliated with Sack-n-Save, closed when that South Frontage Road store did in 2005.

Kroger shoppers earn credits for discounts of up to 10 cents per gallon, but the nearest place to redeem the credits is now in Clinton, 30 miles east on Interstate 20. Overall, savings of 15 cents or more has been the trend.

If Kroger builds a larger store, it will also provide a larger source for grocery shopping in Vicksburg, which also has Wal-Mart SuperCenter, County Market, Corner Market and Piggly Wiggly.

The first Kroger in Vicksburg opened in the 1960s at Battlefield Village mall, which is now Blackburn Auto Mall. From there, it moved in the 1970s to what is now Post Plaza and then to its current location.