Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale had the idea first, but its long delay in getting a store out of the ground on Highway 107 in north Pulaski County has encouraged competitors to start sniffing around.
Whispers can confirm that site scouts for both Kroger and Walmart Neighborhood Market have been looking at the stretch of highway between Maryland Avenue and Brockington Road/Oakdale Road.
Barry Sellers, Sherwood’s economic development director, said last week that more than 20 different businesses have expressed interest in the area. But as of Thursday, nothing new was under contract.
It’s been 10 months since Whispers reported that Harps had selected a site at the northwest corner of Highway 107 and Oakdale Road. Then in March we told you that progress had been delayed while Harps worked out the details of incorporating a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through in the plans.
Now CEO Roger Collins confirms that Harps may be going back to the drawing board because of the potential competition.
“We have not vacated our plans but are evaluating our store size relative to Kroger’s potential impact on the market,” Collins said in an email.
Specifically, “We potentially could decrease the size some,” he said.
Kroger spokeswoman Teresa Dickerson said she had no information about a new store in that area.
Sellers said that the area is underserved by grocers, but there’s a hitch: While most of Pulaski County is wet, there are dry precincts — including the area north of Maryland Avenue. And, as it happens, convenience stores and grocery stores like to sell beer and wine.