The community of Toulon will take a major step toward revitalization as a new grocery store/deli is coming to Main Street. A dedicated group of community leaders, with the assistance of the Illinois Cooperative Development Center, has developed a business plan, purchased a building, arranged for financing, and set up two experienced grocers to operate the store.
According to Jim Nolan, a community leader, “renovations have begun that will transform a dilapidated section of Main Street into a vibrant, attractive community gathering place, where folks can also pick up what they need for both home and on-the-go.” The community group now owns the solid, nearly 4,000 square foot building at 112 East Main in Toulon (see the photo above.)
Financing the project has been a real community effort. Local residents are purchasing $500 shares of stock. The City of Toulon has invested through tax incremental financing. Additionally, a local bank is partnering with the SBA to offer a loan to support start-up costs.
The store will be managed by Ben Steinbach and Julie who have worked hard to design a business that fits the needs of the community. Ben and Julie have combined experience in the grocery business of more than two decades. They know what local people want and will be offering meals ready to go, fresh-sliced deli items, fresh meat, fresh produce, outdoor grilling, delivery to seniors, a delightful café where young and old can gather early morning for coffee, and after the games, for sodas and cheeseburgers, and more.
The Illinois Cooperative Development Center salutes this effort and looks forward to the opening of Ben and Julie’s. We can’t wait to sample the fresh deli sandwiches!!