• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

JR Food store to proceed on company’s timeframe

Construction has not started on a JR Food Stores neighborhood market that will be located in the Equestrian Park shopping center on Lexington Road at Maple Street (former site of the old middle school’s athletic fields), but Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said he’s been assured that the project will happen – eventually. “They still own the property,” said Traugott of parent company Houchens Industries, which does “one or two (construction projects) at a time, and we’re not at the front of the line. But they reaffirmed just within the past month that they’re moving forward on their own timeframe.” As a result, he said the project appears to “be probably a year or two out before they start” construction. When Houchens does move forward with its project, its neighborhood market would help stimulate interest in the other vacant commercial lots at Equestrian Park, “but I think that’s still viable property for some small business uses,” Traugott said. An O’Reilly Auto Parts will have a grand opening at its 7,225 square-foot store in Equestrian Park on Saturday, Aug. 12. In July 2016, the local Planning Commission approved a development plan for a 10,000 square-foot JR Food store with a Schlotsky’s Café & Bakery or Subway drive-through, and gas pumps for eight fueling stations. There’s no expiration date on approved development plans, Planning Director Pattie Wilson said. According to its website, Houchens Industries began in 1917 when Ervin G. Houchens opened his first grocery store in rural Kentucky. Nearly a century later, Houchens has grown into one of the largest employee-owned companies in the U.S., with businesses such as Ace Hardware, IGA, Hank’s Market and JR Food Stores in Kentucky and Indiana.

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