SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Governor Mike DeWine and several community leaders gathered in
Springfield Monday to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Groceryland. The new shopping facility is meant to address the food desert in the south side of the city that began when the store, which was originally a Kroger, closed down.

“Well this store is right on my way home from Columbus, so many times, I stopped in here and picked up some groceries to take home and it’s really clear how important this location is to the south side of Springfield,” said Governor DeWine.

The building was later taken over by local owners after the intervention of the governor on behalf of those impacted by the lack of access to healthy groceries.

“The first thing I did when I heard about the announcement that Kroger was going to shut this store, I called the CEO of Kroger and talked to him about that and expressed to him the importance of this location to the community,” said Governor DeWine. “So we talked about how they could be of help in possibly donating the store itself to the community, and that’s what happened.”

Local investors Dr. Vipul Patel and his business partner Ravindra Patel then took over operations at the building, replacing the roof and flooring in preparation of the facility for public use.

“In this area, obviously, the corporate world left [this place] empty and we thought, they need the help of a local person, local investor, and that’s the main reason we came here. And the city also told us that only a local investor, local operator can support the community,” said Ravindra Patel.

He added that the opening of the grocery store created approximately 80 jobs for those who live in the surrounding community, and will offer fresh and healthy produce, quality meat and other household necessities that are easily accessible.

Going forward, Patel said he hopes the store will become a community staple that will be around to serve patrons for the long-haul.

“Support looks like making it a priority to shop for groceries and that. If they are supporting us, we will be able to support the people who are working for us, who are the backbone of the grocery store, and that is how we are going to move forward.”