EATON, Ohio (WDTN) — It has been a long time coming for people of Preble County. After years of asking for a bigger and better grocery store, people living in the City of Eaton and throughout Preble County are finally getting a new place to shop.

Mayor Joe Renner was joined by other city leaders and Kroger representatives at Monday’s announcement.

“I think it’s very exciting, it’s exciting for not only Eaton but all of Preble County. We’ve had several groceries that have closed down over the years,” Mayor Renner explained.

Kroger will be taking over the old Kmart location off of Barron St. The building has been vacant for more than five years now, and it was bought by Reid Health right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the pandemic delayed plans for the site, Reid Health is now partnering with Kroger to prove a one-stop-shop for health and wellness. Craig Kinyon, the President and CEO of Reid Health, said they plan to open a clinic right next to the new Kroger.

“The focus on food as medicine. There’ll be a pharmacy here. It’s easy for our patients when they’re coming here. They may want to group shop with coming to see the doctor and then also coming to get some groceries,” Kinyon said.

The new Kroger will be three times bigger than the current store, with more grocery items, grocery pick-up, and a fuel center. Kroger representatives also said they are looking into including a Starbucks inside the store. This project will add about 100 new jobs with more management opportunities.

Mayor Renner said the current store is small and outdated. He said after years of limited grocery options, this new store will keep people shopping and spending their money in Preble County.

“The choices are very limited unless you leave town. So this will be a great, great thing for a lot of our community I think,” Mayor Renner said.

The new Kroger is expected to take about two years to complete.