ERIE — Contract negotiations between the city of Erie and the owners of the town’s only grocery store apparently are still ongoing.

The Erie City Council has been considering the purchase of Stub’s Market for several months in a move to keep the store from closing.

The council met with Shirley Mahurin, who owns Stub’s with her husband, David, in a 20-minute closed session on Monday night. The council then scheduled a special meeting for 5 p.m. Oct. 19 to discuss the contract again.

The council seems set to buy the store soon, with the hope the transaction can be completed at the beginning of the new year. On Monday the council approved the purchase of an ad for the store manager position to be run in Kansas newspapers once a week for three weeks through the Kansas Press Association. The council agreed in September to apply for a $480,000 Rural Economic Development Loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would be used for the purchase.

The city has had the framework of a proposed contract ready for a few months. Seth Jones, the city’s attorney, has worked with Mahurin on some of the details of the contract recently. 

Under the proposed agreement, the city would pay the Mahurins $300,000 for the building and fixtures, plus inventory value at the time of the sale and 0.5% of gross sales for 10 years.

The city has been considering the possible acquisition of Stub’s since at least last summer after the Mahurins introduced the proposal. The Mahurins haven’t been able to find a buyer for their store on the private market.

In another matter Monday, the council approved applying for a grant from Neosho County’s Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas program. The county received over $3.2 million in federal coronavirus relief funds passed down from the state. Each city in the county can be reimbursed for up to $100,000 in expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council also gave approval to the city of Chanute to run its fiber optic line to the Labette Health Clinic in Erie.

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