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Editorial: Dolly Madison property great opportunity for Kroger

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Columbus residents who were saddened by the loss of the Dolly Madison bakery have reason to be excited by the bakery property’s rebirth as a grocery store.

Kroger Co. considered the property at 3060 N. National Road to be a perfect fit for its strategy for Columbus. That’s a great benefit for the city and its residents.

Kroger is planning a $20 million investment to redevelop the property into the flagship of its Marketplace stores. The Marketplace concept features stores of about 125,000 square feet with a broad selection of departments, including a deli and bakery, health and beauty, home fashion, Baby World, Kitchen Place, Fred Meyer Jewelers, toys and fresh flowers.

Most importantly, the Marketplace store will employ 325 to 350 people. Kroger’s current, smaller store employs 151.

The Columbus Plan Commission liked what it learned of Kroger’s plans and approved a request to rezone the 11.5-acre site from industrial to commercial. The Columbus City Council will have an opportunity to do so at its June 3 meeting.

For Kroger, this represents a new chapter in its history in Columbus. The company opened its first store here in 1926 and has been located in its 56,000-square-foot building at 3110 N. National Road since 1977.

The company likes the Columbus market and believes it can set sales records here.

Understandably, the decision by Flowers Foods to sell the Dolly Madison property to a non-competitor tugged on the hearts of Columbus residents. The bakery’s roots dated to 1948, when it started as a small, locally owned operation known as Sap’s Donuts.

But after Flowers Foods acquired the Dolly Madison bakery in the bankruptcy sale of Hostess Brands assets in November 2012, it never could find a use for it.

But for Kroger, it’s a golden opportunity.

It is for Columbus, too.

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