A vacant former supermarket on Columbus’ east side has a new use — community grocery store and restaurant.
Guanajuato Grocery Store and Restaurant is expected to open sometime in March at the former Marsh Supermarket building at 2710 State St., said owner representative Jaime Campos.
One of Campos’ brothers currently operates La Guanajuato, a small Mexican food outlet at U.S. 31 and Henry Lakes Boulevard near Taylorsville. But Campos said the substantially larger location on Columbus’ southeast side will be a full service supermarket featuring fresh meats and vegetables.
While the groceries may be conventional, the cuisine of the more than 70-person capacity restaurant on the building’s northwest side will be mostly Mexican food, Campos said.
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“We’re going to try to offer some things different in the restaurant, and see what happens,” he said.
Now supervising the renovation, Jaime Campos is the brother of owner Geraldo Campos, who operates four similar businesses in the Indianapolis area, Jaime Campos said.
The Campos brothers named their stores Guanajuato after a small state in central Mexico northwest of Mexico City where they were born and raised.
Located on a 2.56 acres lot, the store and restaurant near the CSA-Fodrea campus will have 26,383-square-feet of space.
Since the 58-year-old building has always served as a supermarket, the renovation did not require involvement by the Columbus Planning Commission, said Jeff Bergman, city/county planning director.
First operated as a Marsh Supermarket, the Indianapolis-based Marsh later re-branded the building as a LoBill Food Store.
The store was then converted into a Marsh Hometown Market, which provided 45 full-time jobs, before finally closing at the end of February 2013.
At the time, a number of city officials viewed the Marsh closing as another blow to an area already needing revitalization. For east-side residents, the nearest grocery store would be Walmart on 10th Street, about two miles away.
But even with the past history of the building, Jaime Campos said his family feels confident in their investment.
“We’ve had a lot of successful in Indianapolis, and we’re hopeful it will be the same thing here,” he said.
The property, long owned by now-retired Little Champ Oil Inc. president Tom Crippen, was sold to Geraldo Campos on Nov. 20, 2015, for $450,000, public records show.
Impressed by both the size of the building and the parking lot, Jaime Campos initially thought the renovation “would be something easy to do,” he said.
However, that was not the case. In fact, Jaime Campos estimate his family will have invested nearly $200,000 in improvements by the time the grocery store opens.
Much of the existing electrical and plumbing that needed work had been encased in cement, according to county inspection reports.
“We had to take all the floors up,” Campos said. “We’ve taken almost everything down that was here, including plumbing, electrical and water coolers.”
Last April, the Bartholomew County Health Department listed 19 separate things the new owners would either have to add or repair for the new grocery store.
But after tackling one project at a time throughout most of last year, inspectors finally given the business a green light Dec. 29.
“At this point, we’re just trying to do some little details to finish everything,” Jaime Campos said. “We plan to open as soon as we can.”
Guanajuato Grocery Store and Restaurant
Location: 2710 State St.
Description: Full-service conventional grocery store and more than 70-seat Mexican restaurant.
Owner: Geraldo Campos, Indianapolis
Experience: 27 years in grocery business.
Date of purchase: Nov. 20, 2015
Purchase price: $450,000
Additional investment in property: About $200,000
Property size: 26,383-square-foot building on 2.56 acres
When built: 1959
Former uses: Marsh Supermarket, LoBill Foods, Marsh Hometown Market