Grant County will soon have a new restaurant option, but the local economy will also be feeling the effect of national business closures caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fast food chicken chain Popeyes confirmed to the Chronicle-Tribune that it plans to open a Marion location in the third or fourth quarter of this year. The restaurant’s corporate media team did not provide further details on the exact location, planned square footage or how many jobs the new restaurant would create for the local economy.
Grant County Economic Growth Council Executive Director Tim Eckerle said businesses like Popeyes are still seeing an opportunity in Grant County despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
“Whenever we see investment coming into the community, whether it is locally generated or from outside, it’s that people have confidence in the future,” Eckerle said. “... Each [business] sees the ability to make a profit. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. People are investing, and they’re not doing it for an altruistic reason. They’re doing it to make their money back.”
As one national chain prepares to enter the community, two others are closing their doors.
Stock + Field, formerly known as Big R, filed for bankruptcy and is closing all its stores, including its Marion location.
“After more than 55 years, Stock + Field is closing its doors at all 25 locations,” Chairman and CEO Matthew F. Whebbe wrote in a letter to customers. “There have been many challenges in 2020, and Stock + Field is not immune to them.”
Although the company is closing all brick-and-mortar locations, Whebbe said he hopes to eventually make a comeback and reopen stores at some point in the future.
“We’d like to thank our fantastic employees, our loyal customers, and especially the rural communities we’ve partnered with for so many years,” Whebbe said.
Family Video, which also has a location in Marion, has also announced it will be closing all brick and mortar stores once each location sells all of its items, according to a letter from owner Keith Hoogland.
Hoogland thanked employees and customers for allowing Family Video to serve communities for 42 years.
“I am extremely thankful to our employees and customers that were instrumental in Family Video’s success. Without you, we would not have been the last man standing in our industry,” Hoogland said.
In the letter, Hoogland noted that Family Video was one of the few movie rental organizations that began with movies on Betamax, then VHS, DVD and through the Blu-ray era.
Despite their decades-long tenure, Hoogland attributed the organization’s demise to the impact of the pandemic.
“The impact of COVID-19, not only in foot traffic but also in the lack of movie releases, pushed us to the end of an era,” said Hoogland.
Eckerle said the pandemic has changed how business is conducted in many sectors.
“It’s sped up some changes in life,” Eckerle said. “...The primary focus is everyone wants to stay safe.”