For decades, Thriftway Foods served the residents of Crystal. And to this day, former customers still have fond memories.
"It was a good place," said Tim Boxell, a former Crystal resident. "It was a hot little strip there for a while."
It was a good place until the grocery store closed in September of 2011. It was the final chapter in the 51-year history of the family-owned business.
"I was very disappointed, and I kind of hoped Aldi’s would fail, but they sure haven’t," said Gloria Boxell.
Aldi may not have failed, but for six years, the property along West Broadway sat vacant, much to the chagrin of people in the neighborhood.
"Yes I guess I would call it a wasted opportunity, or a wasted space," said David Flugge. "2011 seems like a long time. I don’t know how they couldn’t get something in here."
Yet after all this time, city officials finally have good news to share.
"Well, Thriftway is owned by a private investor, and they’re trying to bring in three main things," said Crystal Mayor Jim Adams. "One is a hardware store. It’s going to be a smaller hardware store with some outside storage."
The property owner has already built a fence next to the building where they plan to put materials for the hardware store.
David Flugge, who lives across the street, is excited about the project.
"I think it's at least a mile away to get to Home Depot or something like that, so it'll be nice to have some more options," Flugge said.
Mayor Adams said the site will also be home to a Goodwill, and a restaurant with a drive-through.
Ultimately, the city is happy that something will finally occupy the space.
"That’s the benefit of having it occupied, is that you have somebody caring for it, so it doesn’t look like blight in our community," Adams said.
There is no timetable as to when the project will be finished, but Mayor Adams hopes to have the new tenants in place by the end of the year.
March 31, 2017