Opportunity knocks, but someone has to open the door to see just what that opportunity is.
And often, to take full advantage, one must be willing to do much more than just open a door.
In the case of Polo city leaders, they decided to do more than open the door with an opportunity that recently presented itself.
And the results could bode well for the community.
The opportunity we speak of is the possible return of a grocery store to this Ogle County community of about 2,300 people.
The opportunity comes in the form of a businessman, Tushar Patel of Lanark, who owns a grocery store in Lanark, not quite 20 miles northwest of Polo.
Patel would like to open a grocery store in Polo, which hasn’t had one for 9 years.
Patel wants to buy the building where the previous grocery, Polo Food Center at 205 S. Division Ave., operated.
But he needs some financial assistance.
Patel found a willing partner in the form of the Polo City Council.
The agreement the council recently approved with Patel has the potential to benefit both the businessman and the city.
The city has agreed to lend Patel $30,000 from its general fund to help finance the purchase and renovation of the former grocery store.
Patel has agreed to open the grocery store sometime in 2018, and remain in continuous operation until at least Dec. 31, 2020.
If Patel does not fulfill those two requirements, he must repay the $30,000.
But if he does fulfill those terms, the city will cancel the debt.
The city benefits by having a grocery store in town again so its citizens don’t have to travel elsewhere to shop for food.
The city benefits by having a new employer come to town.
The city also benefits by having a renewed source of sales tax revenue coming into city coffers.
Patel will benefit, if he lives up to the terms of the loan, by not having to pay it back.
Looks like a win-win for all concerned.
Other communities should keep an eye on how the arrangement works between Polo and Patel, as it might provide an example for other public-private partnerships in the future.
Citizens of Polo can do their part to help the agreement succeed by patronizing the rejuvenated grocery store after it opens.
When opportunity knocked in Polo, the city flung the door wide open. We will watch with interest to see whether this opportunity yields fruit – vegetables, meat, milk and bread, too.