Meijer Inc. Weighs Former Austintown School Site

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Township Trustee Ken Carano isn’t surprised that Meijer Inc., one of the largest retailers in the United States, is looking at the Austintown Local Schools property on Mahoning Avenue near the Austintown Plaza.

“It’s a prime property since Walmart has proven its worth within that big-box circle,” Carano said.

Walmart has operated a store across from the Austintown Plaza since 1994. It was the first Walmart in Mahoning County.

Meijer Stores Partners Ltd. signed an agreement with the school district to allow the company 180 days to perform due diligence on the property, said Austintown schools superintendent Vince Colaluca.

“During that time we could be working on a contract” to sell the property to the company, Colaluca added.

Meijer, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., operates more than 220 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, according to its website. It pioneered the superstore in the early 1960s with most Meijers today selling groceries and general merchandise including apparel and electronics. The stores also have pharmacies and garden centers.

Calls and emails to Meijer’s listed media contacts were not returned as of Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this month, the district entered into an agreement with the family of John Fitch to move forward collaboratively to sell the school building property, 5800 Mahoning Ave., just east of the Austintown Plaza.

Should Meijer move forward, the store would be the chain’s first in northeastern Ohio. Its stores closest to the Mahoning Valley are in Sandusky and north of Mansfield.

“We’re just excited about being able to move forward,” Colaluca said. He expressed the hope that the Fitch family “will see this as an opportunity to continue the legacy” of their ancestor.

During the due diligence period, Meijer will look into issues such as zoning, water and sewers at the site, he said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Meijer hadn’t contacted the township zoning office, reported Darren Crivelli, township zoning inspector.

Carano said he is familiar with Meijer’s stores in the Columbus are from his days as a state representative.

“Certainly we welcome anybody into Austintown. It’s good for the residents and it’s certainly good for the township because of the tax base,” he commented.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.