A Herkimer County village is dealing with its own grocery store issues. The Village of Ilion hasn't had a full-service grocery store for nearly 10 years. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us why the problem has gone on this long and what's at stake for some of Ilion's residents.
ILION, N.Y. -- For nearly a decade, the Village of Ilion has been dealing with a problem that many villages and even parts of cities are starting to experience.
"At one time, years ago, we had five grocery stores," Ilion Mayor John Stephens said. "Due to the economy and building in other villages surrounding us, we now have zero."
Many people don't consider the Aldi in the village to be full-service. The closest full-service store is four miles away in Herkimer.
"I'd like to go to a grocery store where I can pick out stuff, you know?" said village resident Leslie Hosler.
Hosler is one of about 50 people who live in the Prindle Apartments who rely on others to get to the store in Herkimer.
"When my niece is not busy. I don't have a car. My niece takes me with her car," he said.
Then there are people like Susan Warney. For her, going to Herkimer means sacrificing independence.
"I mean, I don't want to depend on everybody all my life," she said.
People like Warney and Hosler can either get a ride or take a bus, which only comes once every two weeks. Going alone isn't an option.
"You could get killed going all the way to Aldi's because there's not a sidewalk and 5S is dangerous." Warney said.
Mayor John Stephens says the village is doing everything it can to solve the problem.
"We have contacted every major grocery store chain in America and nobody seems interested because of the development in the Village of Herkimer," he explained.
The village says they have their eye on the very few vacant properties around town, like the 13 acre Duofold site. They say it's prime real estate for economic development, but they have a very long way to go before anything happens here.
"They're starting to do some testing down there to see how we can do that," Stephens said. "The only involvement the village has is to hope that the outcome at the end is good."
Village officials say there isn't really any other land they can work with. Meaning there is no expiration date in sight for Ilion's grocery shortage.