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Published: Monday, 2/2/2004

Grocer could be in by April

Food & Drug Basics, a discount grocery chain, could move into Toledo as early as April, city officials said.

Steve Seaton, director of economic and community development, and City Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz visited two Food & Drug Basics stores in Philadelphia on Saturday. During the trip, store leaders said it would take about 60 days to convert Farmer Jack stores into the discount chain.

Food & Drug Basics plans to move into three Farmer Jack stores slated to close: at 2630 West Laskey Rd., 2150 South Byrne Rd., and 1707 Cherry St. Both grocery chains are owned by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.

Mr. Seaton and Mr. Kapszukiewicz, who traveled to Philadelphia at city expense, said the visit confirmed store executives' claims that the discount chain offers low prices in clean stores. They plan to talk to Mayor Jack Ford today about their impressions.

Two community representatives - Kathleen Kovacs, executive director of Neighborhoods In Partnership and Willie Williams of Warren-Sherman Area Council - also made the trip.

Farmer Jack employees, who belong to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 911, are to meet today to discuss a contract, said Mr. Williams, who works for Farmer Jack. He said the contract would focus on working conditions at Food & Drug Basics.

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