Lakeland, a town of less than 15,000 residents, currently has three grocery store options within our city limits. In September of 2011, the Lakeland Kroger moved from the Stonebridge location to what was previously Schnucks across Highway 64. That move left Lakeland residents with no grocery options without city limits. It also left Lakeland with a sales tax crisis with Kroger producing the majority of the sales tax revenue for the city at that time. The lack of a strong sales tax generator placed Lakeland in a very difficult position. A position that could have been avoided with other commercial growth that was turned down at that time, but Lakeland is now in a new era looking for continued smart growth that produces more revenue for the city.
In 2015 Lakeland gained the first Sprouts Grocery Store in the Mid-South, in what was previously Kroger. In 2021, Aldi opened near the corner of Canada Road and Highway 64 adding a second grocery option within Lakeland borders. Both stores have added important sales tax revenue for Lakeland.
Adding to that list is a boutique grocery store, Olive House Mediterranean, which opened in The Lake District in September and is doing very well according to owners. Officials say Lakeland is not necessarily finished with more grocery options. There are still options on the table for a full grocery store at The Lake District and there was interest from at least one other national chain in 2022 for a listed property located on Highway 64 close to Stonebridge. That inquiry shed light on the attraction businesses have with Lakeland with location playing a key role in the equation. Due to a variety of factors, national grocery store chains are not currently in expansion mode due to the economy, staffing challenges, and supply logistics but it’s safe to say, we have the most options of any town of this size and the odds of that list growing in the next few years seems likely.