Employees celebrate, neighbors sneer at Schnucks grand opening in Ballwin


by Laura Hettiger / News 4


Posted on November 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 10:04 AM

BALLWIN, Mo. (KMOV) -- It has been three years since people in a Ballwin neighborhood first raised concerns about a proposed grocery store at the corner of Clarkson and Kehrs Mill Road.

Their concerns reached their peak Thursday as the new Schnucks celebrated its official grand opening.

“None of my neighbors will shop here,” said Bruce Grossman, one of the neighbors against the development. “They chose to build in a residential area which I don’t understand.”

Grossman stopped by the new store hours before it officially opened. He said that would probably be the last time he or someone from his family visits the property.

Grossman said he was against the store for two reasons: it will increase traffic close to his children’s schools and it could lower his property value.

Back in 2009, other neighbors like Grossman and the city’s planning and zoning commission said the grocery store would be a bad addition to the area. The board of aldermen, however, saw it differently. In June of that year, the board approved Schnucks’ request.

Despite the controversy, the new store created 158 jobs, including 51 full-time positions. The 41,000-square-foot family-owned chain will also generate a lot of tax revenue.

Some store workers acknowledge the concern from citizens, but most said this store will do more good than bad for the community.

“There’s a lot of people out of jobs right now,” store manager Jason Vonder Haar said. “To be able to give them the opportunity to work for such a great company like Schnucks markets, it’s an awesome thing for us as a company.”