COMIDA Gives Green Light On Hart's Grocer

- More details should be released Tuesday about a new grocery store coming to downtown Rochester. 

"Right now I gotta go all the way down the Wegmans. So it's closer; the convenience really," Verron Jackson said.

"The convenience of being downtown; not having to worry about going out of the city," Alonna Tuggles said.

The buzz around downtown is all about Hart's Local Grocers. Thanks to tax breaks from the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency, the largest grocery store downtown will soon become a reality.

"Getting tax incentives is huge for our carrying costs and helps lighten the burden on local investors that are making this happen," Rochester Local Capital manager Glenn Kellogg said.

The $3.6 million project will go inside a former auto body shop on Winthrop Street. COMIDA approved $145,000 in tax incentives.

"We have a very dedicated board that looks at the benefits of the community versus the incentives; and working with the city we knew this was important for the city center," COMIDA Executive Director Judy Seil said.

COMIDA hopes Hart's Local Grocers starts a growing trend.

"If others see that retail is coming to the downtown area, we are hoping that others will follow," Seil said.

A recent survey showed a top thing people wanted downtown was a grocery store. Hart's hopes to attract walkers and bikers, focusing on local natural and organic foods.

"We don't have a national chain that is coming in and starting this. It's a start-up and it's a real estate development project kind of all rolled into one," Kellogg said.

"I think it's a good idea; more convenient. It's actually close to where I stay so it keeps me from leaving the neighborhood," Jackson said.

Hart's will created 58 full time jobs over the next three years. The grocery store is expected to open in mid-May.  

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