Weaver Mayor Wayne Willis announced Monday that Mike Sanders of Discount Foods in Anniston had closed on the property on Main Street on Friday. Sanders previously owned the store with his former partner before selling the building in 2005.
“When I was campaigning for mayor, I kept hearing that people wanted the grocery store fixed up and re-opened,” Willis said. “This is the first thing I started working on when I took office.”
Willis said Monday’s announcement came after five months of negotiations among the city, Sanders and the building’s previous owners, RK Allen Oil. Willis said the City Council has promised Sanders partnership and financial backing to help remodel the building, which has fallen into disrepair.
“The council really wanted someone to come and take this building,” Sanders said. “The incentive was there for us.”
Willis said a constitutional amendment gives municipalities the authority to use public funds in private buildings for purpose of promoting economic growth.
“This has been an eyesore, and it’s right in the middle of city, so it’s kind of embarrassing,” Willis said. “This is going to be a big boost for Weaver, financially, aesthetically, for community morale and hopefully, in time, for sales tax as well.”
Willis said he plans to seek council approval on giving $20,000 annually for five years to the grocery store for remodeling.
Sanders said he didn’t know how quickly the store could re-open, but Willis said he’d like to shoot for Aug. 1.
Monday’s announcement came two weeks after the successful passage of a bill annexing Heroes Bar and Grille and Smokin Joes Tobacco and Beverage shop on Alabama 21 into Weaver’s city limits. Willis hopes another restaurant, Classic at Buckhorn, will open before the end of the year as well.
Willis said one of the obstacles that scared off potential buyers for years was the grocery store’s proximity to the Dollar General store also on Main Street. He said he thinks there’s enough business in the city to support both stores.
“Now we just need the community to back this,” Willis said. “Shopping here goes right back into Weaver. If you go to Walmart, that goes to Anniston or Jacksonville.”
Sanders said he thinks his grocery store will pick up right where it left off when he sold the building eight years ago.
“We’re excited to be back in Weaver,” Sander said. “I’m looking forward to serving this community.”
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.