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Local

Opening date set for Polo grocery

Construction crews work at Polo Fresh Food Market in Polo in December.  Owner Tushar Patel said the store at 205 S. Division Ave./state Route 26 will open Jan. 28.
Construction crews work at Polo Fresh Food Market in Polo in December. Owner Tushar Patel said the store at 205 S. Division Ave./state Route 26 will open Jan. 28.

POLO – In fewer than 3 weeks, Polo residents once again will be able to shop for groceries in their own town.

Tushar Patel, owner of what will be Polo Fresh Food Market, will open the store at 205 S. Division Ave./state Route 26 on Jan. 28, he told the City Council Monday.

Alderman Jim Busser, who toured the completely updated store, gave it high marks, as did Mayor Doug Knapp.

“It is really top-notch,” Knapp said.

Polo has been without a grocery store for more than 10 years.

Patel, who also owns and operates a grocery store in Lanark, bought the shuttered Polo Food Center, formerly Polo Super Valu, last year, and has renovated and bought new equipment with financial incentives from the city.

The new store will offer a full grocery line, fresh meats and produce, deli, and a liquor mart. It will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Also Monday, the council decided against relinquishing its first lien position on the store.

The city loaned Patel $70,000 to help him get the store operational; half will be forgiven after 3 three years and the rest after 5 years, if it remains in business.

First State Bank Shannon-Polo requested the first lien position – Patel is borrowing up to $400,000 from the bank for the store – but city attorney Tom Suits opposed the request.

In the case of a foreclosure, only the entity in first lien position gets its money back.

“As your attorney, I have to advise you against this,” he said. “You can do this with your own money if you want to, but this is the public’s money.”

Suits spoke with bank officials who assured him they will loan Patel the money regardless of which lien position the bank holds, he said.

Suits also noted that after 5 years, the city loan will be forgiven and the bank will become the first lien holder.

In another matter, the council approved a requested from Gene Dambman to rezone his property at 605 S. Congress Ave. from residential to business, so Dambman’s son Jared, can rebuild his business, Dambman Lawn Mower Hospital, which was destroyed in a fire on Oct. 15.

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