The Williams Planning Commission last week approved the design and the site plan for the Grocery Outlet proposed on the east side of town.
The 18,000 sq. foot bargain market will be built on a 1.83-acre parcel on Vada Court, near Taco Bell, upon final approval from the City Council.
“The site is physically suitable for this type of development,” said City Planner Monica Stegall, at the commission’s Aug. 27 meeting.
Stegall said the property involved is of adequate size and shape to accommodate the store, which will have a 94-stall parking lot. The California-based Grocery Outlet has about 300 stores nationwide.
Scott Moreland, director of development for Capital Rivers Commercial, who is working with the grocery chain to build the Williams store, said Grocery Outlet would be operated by an independent operator from the area, and that the store would provide about 35 to 40 full and part-time positions.
While Williams currently has two grocery stores, Grocery Outlet is not the typical market, in that the corporation buys deeply discounted products (such as brand surplus after a packaging changes, products bought from stores that are going out of business, and other deeply discounted selections) and then sells it to the independent operator, Moreland said.
That means most products at the store will be significantly less expensive than at other grocery stores, but that the merchandise at Grocery Outlet varies.
“It doesn’t have a butcher counter, so it is not like a full-service grocery store,” Moreland said. “It doesn’t have full-service dairy or bakery.”
Moreland said Grocery Outlet specifically looks for areas that are undeserved, and feels that the store will be a good fit for Williams and surrounding communities.
“Grocery Outlet wants to be a part of this community,” he said.
The Planning Commission approved the design and the site plan permit with just a three-vote majority, following last week’s public hearing.
While there was some concern about future blight on the old part of town if one or both existing grocery stores fail as a result of eastside development, Sarabjeet Singh, the only member of the public to speak, voiced his concern about the impact the store will have on traffic, which he believes will be significant.
Singh said the traffic, as it flows all along E. Street, is already congested from multiple stop signs, and that a traffic signal should have been a condition of approval.
“Why should the city have to pay a half million for a traffic light,” Singh said. “The city should have made the developer pay for it.”
Conditions the city did place on the developer include sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and driveways build to Williams Public Works standards, landscape and irrigation, enclosed trash area, ADA compliance, and lighting and signs that is consistent with the Williams zoning code.
The proposed hours for the store are 8 AM to 9 PM daily.