February 16, 1998
"Our announcement today is good news for everyone," said Mark J. Schnuck, vice president of shopping center development and operations at Schnucks and president of The DESCO Group, which handled the real estate assignments for Schnucks. "Residents in the communities surrounding both locations will gain the convenience and economic benefits that a healthy supermarket can bring to the neighborhood. We feel very good about the quality of the operators we've been able to attract to both the Holly Hills neighborhood in South St. Louis and the Ferguson community in North St. Louis County. In doing so, we're living up to the final terms of our agreement with the Federal Trade Commission."
The announcement coincides with a 30-day review period. A majority vote of the FTC is required to approve the new supermarket operators.
Missouri Attorney General Jeremiah "Jay" Nixon, who coordinated terms of the agreement with the FTC, said, "These new stores represent a reinvestment in St. Louis. Good grocery stores serve as anchors for neighborhoods and strong neighborhoods make strong cities. We have been vigilant in our efforts to ensure competitive services for neighborhoods in St. Louis and it is important that we all work together, each recognizing our unique role, in keeping St. Louis a viable city and a place of promise for the future."
Koppeis, 43, a native of Farmington, Mo., started working in the industry at age 13 as a cleanup worker in a local grocery store. He joined Wetterau in 1977, working on store merchandising with grocery stores supplied by Wetterau.
"I'm happy to have this opportunity to open a store in a community that is so eager for a new store," Koppeis said. "We hope to open our doors by July 4th." Koppeis will be supplied by SuperValu, the successor organization to his former employer.
11th Ward Alderman Matt Villa praised both Schnucks and Koppeis. "The Schnucks family has structured a deal that is very generous to the new supermarket operator and will benefit this neighborhood with a quality supermarket in what has been a vacant store," he said. "I want to applaud Joe Koppeis for his willingness to start a new business in the city. We need more people like him to have faith in the city and invest in the city."
Villa worked with St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon to obtain $150,000 in federal block grant money as incentive funds for Koppeis to use for exterior facade improvements. The city will pay one-half of Koppeis' costs, up to $150,000. "This is a gift to our neighborhood directly from Mayor Harmon," Villa said.
Residents were also important to the effort. "Local citizens let it be known that they would support a new neighborhood supermarket," he said. "That gave Joe Koppeis the confidence to invest in our neighborhood. The Holly Hills Improvement Association, the Bellerive Neighborhood Association and the Carondelet Community Betterment Foundation were important partners in our efforts to attract a quality operator."
Mayor Harmon added, "We're pleased with Schnucks' persistence and diligence in seeking a supermarket operator who is eager to open a quality supermarket in one of our city neighborhoods. We welcome Joe Koppeis to the neighborhood."
108th District State Rep. Brian May called the announcement, "a great day for the neighborhood," adding, "The Schnucks store on Loughborough has been great for our community, but now we'll have two great stores in the neighborhood -- and that benefits everyone. Schnucks has found a great buyer for the store. Joe Koppeis' new market will offer a real advantage to elderly residents who live close-by and enjoy walking to their neighborhood supermarket."
Ferguson Mayor Steve Wegert noted, "We're delighted to have secured a grocery store for our downtown core. This store is very important to our revitalization efforts. It's a great shot in the arm."
The city of Ferguson recently selected a downtown site for a new community center and fire station. "The new grocery store will play a significant role in anchoring the north end of our downtown district while our community center and fire station will reinvigorate the southern area. These improvements, combined with our City Hall renovation, represent an investment of $15 million in downtown Ferguson."
Wegert said the new supermarket will also provide important sales tax revenue to the city, both directly and indirectly. "Shop n Save's presence will help restore traffic on Florissant Road, which benefits other area businesses. The domino effect on local business and community vitality is very positive," he noted.
76th District State Rep. Lana Ladd Stokan added, "It's very important to the Ferguson community to have a grocery store within walking distance for many of the residents. We're thrilled our work is bearing fruit and that Ferguson will soon have a supermarket once again."