When Melody White heard about a new grocery store coming to Ashland, she decided to take advantage of a job opportunity closer to home. She left her job at Sam’s Club — and the drive to Columbia — to work as a cashier and in customer service at Moser’s Discount Foods.
White, 51, started working at the store a few weeks before its Jan. 8 opening, helping to stock shelves and get everything ready for the public.
“So far it has been just wonderful. It seems like everyone in the community is so excited about the store. The store is good for the employees and the customers,” White said. “The management was really good about hiring within the Ashland area, and that helps our community as well.”
Harold Love, who helps store owner Roger Moser oversee the five store locations, said the business employs 55 people.
“We have 30 full-time and 25 part-time employees currently on staff, and most of those people are from the Ashland area,” Love said.
The new store offers the community more than jobs. Mindy Collins of Plaza Real Estate in Ashland said her company has found it beneficial to mention the new grocery to prospective homebuyers.
“Ashland is really a growing town,” Collins said. “When we show property, we mention things like the town swimming pool, the start-up of the football program at the school and the newer school buildings. Now, we definitely mention the new grocery store as well, because it’s so convenient for many residents.”
City Administrator Ken Eftink said that Moser’s helps keep jobs — and business — in the community.
“Now people can work and live closer to home,” Eftink said. “This also results in an increase of sales and property tax revenue within the city.”
Ashland’s sales tax rate is 6.85 cents on the dollar. Eftink said 1 cent of that revenue goes to the city’s general fund for purposes such as police and parks and one-half cent of the tax goes to the capital fund.
“The property tax generated off of the store will benefit the school district as well the library and fire district,” Eftink said.
“I think the store will be well-used by the community and will provide the community with a grocer that has a larger variety and will allow people to shop locally instead of going to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Columbia,” he said.
Moser owns supermarkets in Fulton, Holts Summit, Warrenton and Columbia. He has been trying to get a store in Ashland for the past two years.
Business in the 20,000-square-foot store is off to a good start, he said. “We had some problems getting the site that we needed, but now that the store has opened, things are going just as anticipated.”
Ashland resident Dawn Holzhauser said the store is something of a status symbol for the community.
“It makes us feel like we’re really uptown,” she said.
Although Moser’s is the largest grocery store in town, it is not the only one. Ashland Super Foods, 101 W. Broadway, also sells groceries.