New Lawrence-based grocer could bring fresh food options to downtown KCK

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The empty parking lot near 5th and Minnesota in KCK could soon be home to a new grocery store, bringing much needed fresh food options to downtown KCK.

On Monday, Wyandotte County leaders announced the Unified Government signed letter of intent with Lawrence-based The Merc Co+op to manage the downtown grocery store. The agreement is a non-binding letter of intent. Both parties are now in the process of negotiating a management agreement.

The KCK store would look similar to the two existing locations in Lawrence.

The Merc's emphasis on fresh affordable, local food is what UG leaders said makes this business model a good fit for the area. Leaders said over the years the county has attempted to contact other vendors to generate interest in the project. This seems to be the best fit.

This is a $6 million project that will be funded with money the UG received from the sale of the Hilton Garden Inn a few years ago, plus money from sales and property tax-increment financing.

“They felt like that would be a very good site for them to locate, and that operator is the Merc. They currently have a store in Lawrence, Kansas, as a cooperative. They seem to us to be very flexible in the way that they can look at their product and merchandise," said Doug Bach, Wyandotte County administrator.