Downtown grocery store closing - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Downtown grocery store closing after less than a year in business

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Less than a year after opening, a local business will close its doors.

Charly's Market in downtown Eau Claire announced it will be closing for good Saturday. The grocery store opened last year in May. The city's redevelopment authority provided a 200 thousand dollar incentive to bring a grocery store to the downtown area. The city says that money won't go to waste, most of it was used to make improvements to the infrastructure. We talked to the property owner today and asked why things didn't work out.

"The store opened up in the midst of one of the worst economic times we've had in recent history. And that makes it tough on everybody. Even existing businesses have had a real struggle staying open. I do believe there is still a niche market for a grocery downtown. There have been several studies down here by professionals that have indicated that there is a need for a grocery downtown. And all I can kind of guess at is there's a niche market, and this store didn't quite meet that niche, unfortunately," said Geoff Moeding, Moeding Partners LLC President.

The city tells us they are in communication with the developer about what will happen with the space next and the possibility of bringing another grocery store there.

According to Charly's Market Facebook page, they will be open from 10 to six Sunday, but the following week has yet to be determined.  

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City of Eau Claire (press release) - A local developer will be looking for a new downtown grocery store operator. Geoff Moeding, President of Moeding Partners, LLC, has notified the City of Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority and the City of Eau Claire today, that Charly's Market will be closing.

Charly's Market operator Carolyn Miller has announced she has plans to close the store in the coming weeks.

"While we are disappointed, we appreciate the efforts of Geoff Moeding for trying to bring a grocery store to this growing urban neighborhood," said Mike Schatz, Economic Development Director. "Although this particular business operator was not successful, we are confident that this neighborhood will only continue to grow and ultimately be able to support an established, well-funded grocery store. Overall, the Phoenix Park neighborhood has been very successful."

In July, 2011, Miller announced she would open Charly's Market at 225 E. Madison Street.
The 4,200 square foot store features a high-quality meat department and meals that could be picked up quickly for people on the go. The store opened its doors in May of 2012.

Last year, the Redevelopment Authority provided a $200,000 incentive to the developer in an effort to attract a grocery operator to the area. To date, Moeding has received $150,000. Moeding says $100,000 of the $150,000 he received, was utilized for building infrastructure, in equipment, and in fixtures-all of which will remain in the building and could be used by a future grocery operator.

Schatz says Moeding has exceeded the assessed valuation he contractually guaranteed; there are more people living in the area than when the redevelopment district was created, the
housing units are completely filled, and there are many new businesses serving and strengthening the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

Moeding and city leaders are currently discussing the options and opportunities that this closing presents, with potential future grocery operators.

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