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Wednesday, January 15,2014

Why Goodrich’s can’t stay

Closing for six to eight months plus renovation costs was not an option for Goodrich’s Shop-Rite

by Andy Balaskovitz
Goodrich’s Shop-Rite, the family owned business based in East Lansing’s Trowbridge Plaza, is unable to close for six to eight months to renovate the 26,000-square-foot grocery store.

Such were the terms Goodrich’s faced as local developer Kevin McGraw looks to put $24 million into upgrading the dated shopping center just west of Michigan State University’s campus. Goodrich’s co-owner Steve Scheffel is also unsure whether the store could afford a new lease that would have tripled its rent.

Therefore, Goodrich’s — which has operated in the Lansing area for 76 years — is likely to abandon its Trowbridge home, even though the East Lansing City Council is yet to vote on McGraw’s proposal.

“Chances are pretty good it is” going to close, Scheffel said Monday. “That’s the best I can tell you. It still has to go before (City Council) before they put the tombstone on us.”

“I can’t close down the store for eight months,” Scheffel said. “I don’t have $1 million to $2 million (for renovations) in my bank account. That was why the one and only lease presented to us was simply undoable.”

McGraw’s plan calls for two new buildings for student housing, offices and retail and renovating the Goodrich’s space. It was tabled at a city Planning Commission last week after dozens of residents reportedly showed up asking for the plan to be revisited. The commission will ultimately make a recommendation on the project to the City Council.

Yet media reports surfaced after that meeting that Goodrich’s will have to close when its lease expires this summer. McGraw announced that he had already finalized a lease agreement with a new grocer to replace Goodrich’s.

“I did not want to make this about Goodrich’s, because it’s not,” MLive.com reported McGraw saying to the commission. “I’ve got to tell you: We tried.

There’s not a … landlord in town that doesn’t want to keep … people who are as good as Goodrich’s.”

McGraw could not be reached for comment.

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