LIMA — Ruthie Mays was one of the first customers in the door at the new Ruler Foods for the grand opening Thursday.
The West Elm Street store is close to Mays’ home and gives her a nearby option rather than driving to the east or west side of town.
“This is great. I just live down the street,” Mays said. “We had to go way across town to go to the grocery.”
Ruler Foods opened at 515 W. Elm St., at 10 a.m. Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony that was followed by a flow of people into the store to be the first to see the 15,000-square foot store and buy something.
Paul Bowen, the division president for Ruler Foods, said there was a real need in this area of Lima to have food available for people.
“By having a store here, I really think we can serve the community,” Bowen said. “It’s a really good partnership between a really good business and a great community.”
Ruler, which is part of the Kroger Company, focuses on low prices and good brands, he said.
“We really strive to make it a great shopping experience by having everything people typically use for breakfast, lunch and supper and to clean the house,” Bowen said.
Lima 6th Ward Councilman Derry Glenn said he’s been wanting to bring a grocery store to the 6th Ward for 20 years. He said it offers a chance to increase the quality of living in the ward.
“Our folks have a choice now. They can make a decision where they want to stop. Ruler is a great organization,” Glenn said. “I am so excited right now. This has finally happened.”
Glenn said various city officials worked hard to bring a Ruler store to downtown Lima.
Aubree Kaye, executive director of Downtown Lima Inc., said the Ruler store helps with the downtown renaissance. She said the store location is close enough to walk or a short bus ride being near a bus stop.
“This is a very important part of the downtown, and it has been on our wish list to have a grocery store down here. We are in a little bit of a food desert here. We have grocery stores on the east and west side but nothing downtown for our residents as well as the employees and workers,” Kaye said.
Ruler Foods also has a store on Elida Road, which opened in 2012.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.