In January of 2018, Peoria residents experienced first-hand the impact on grocery access generated by a market-driven decision of a national grocery chain. Kroger—the world’s largest supermarket chain headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio—shuttered the stores on Harmon Highway and Wisconsin Avenue. The stores served Peoria’s South Side and East Bluff neighborhoods respectively. These two neighborhoods contain the metro area’s highest levels of poverty and lowest levels of food access.

This report—a compilation of various studies in the time since the closures—aims to support the development of healthy, affordable, and sustainable grocery retail businesses in underserved Peoria neighborhoods.


Primary Takeaways

  • The global grocery industry is rapidly changing and experiencing major disruptions

  • Competition is extremely high among chain grocery retailers as discount stores and online retailers claim more of the market

  • Due to low purchasing power and population, the Southside and East Bluff neighborhoods do not meet the standard desired marketability for traditional chain grocers

  • Surveyed residents near the closed Kroger stores desire a new grocery option to fill the resulting grocery gap

  • To fill this gap, alternative grocery retail models must be identified and piloted

  • Numerous existing efforts and resources exist related to fresh food access in Peoria; these should be coordinated with and leveraged in any effort to launch new grocery retail options that best serve the community

Next Steps/Recommendations

  • Community meetings to share the report and discuss the opportunities and challenges of operating a grocery business

  • Identify entrepreneurs and/or organizations interested in launching and operating a grocery business that serves the Southside and/or East Bluff neighborhoods

  • Use the report along with further market analyses and business development resources to assist in the creation of feasible grocery business plans

  • Assign roles and responsibilities for additional report recommendations to establish better practices and systems that prevent unexpected grocery closures, support any new grocery operations that align with community and economic development goals of the neighborhood where they locate, and align these efforts with the overall regional food system strategy.

[insert july 10 meeting info and email form]

Explore the Report