By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. — County Market officials plan to launch a $2 million remodeling of the grocery store in Hannibal's Steamboat Bend Shopping Center.
"It will take about five months. We expect to start in late spring or early summer and be done by fall," said Rich Niemann Jr., CEO of Niemann Foods Inc.
The most extensive renovations will occur in the southern part of the store, where the deli, floral, meats and vegetables are located. More prepared foods will be added along with seating for customers who wish to dine in.
"We'll have a Chinese kitchen. Our chefs have been working on this and we're excited to be able to offer it in Hannibal for the first time," Niemann said.
A salad bar also will be incorporated into the food court area.
The store will remain open during the upgrade. Although much of the equipment from throughout the store will be replaced, the work will take place in phases so that shoppers face a minimum of inconvenience.
"When we do these projects people are always interested in the progress," Niemann said.
Gerry Kettler, Niemann Foods director of consumer affairs, said large windows will be installed in the food court and fresh foods section of the store.
"It's going to have a very open feel that is light-filled and comfortable," Kettler said.
The exterior of the store will get a new look with lighter siding and green County Market lettering.
The warmer color scheme will be carried out inside the store as well.
Niemann said the grocery chain continues to grow in other ways. The 100th store was opened in Springfield, Ill., recently.
In addition, four grocery stores purchased from the Hickman chain are set to open next month in Northeast Missouri. Those stores are in Bowling Green, Winfield, Vandalia and Mexico.
Niemann Foods also is negotiating on a grocery store location in Louisiana, Mo., but nothing has been finalized.