Grocery shopping is a step closer to checkout with the formal closing of the contract on the old Safeway building downtown.

Terry Driggers with Century 21 - Patterson Agency confirmed the sale to the Herald-Banner Wednesday morning.

The buyer of the 16,000 square-foot building is Roberto Meza with Supermercado La Providencia.

“If everything goes according to plan, we could be open by the end of September,” Meza said Wednesday. “We want to get done as soon as possible. We will have crews in here working 12 to 14 hours a day.”

Meza said the Greenville store would be similar to one he operates in Mount Pleasant.

“We’ll have a full-line meat market, bakery and produce section, as well as a great selection of real Mexican food,” he said. “The meat market will also offer a good selection of fish, poultry and pork.”

The company also has locations on Greenville Avenue in Dallas and in Garland.

He said the Greenville location would employ approximately 40 full-time employees, and offer competitive prices.

“We also want to renovate the building in a way that will fit in with your downtown,” Meza said. “The city staff has been very cooperative and supportive.”

Driggers praised Greenville Community Development director Phillip Sanders, Greenville Board of Development director Robert Winningham and Greenville Main Street manager Doyle Dick for their cooperation in helping bring the transaction to a conclusion.

Dick said it was his understanding that 50 to 55 percent of the proposed income from the business would come from the meat market.

“If you want a steak two-inch thick, they’ll cut it for you two-inch thick,” Dick said.

“This will be good for all north Greenville, and serve a much-needed void. It is a great step in the right direction.”

Winningham said the move was important to the overall Greenville economy.

“This will help fulfill the council’s third most important goal, which is the revitalization of downtown,” Winningham said. “That’s important to the Greenville Board of Development, too, because downtown represents the face of the whole community.

“When we talk about revitalization and hoping to spur development, a grocery store plays an integral part of that.”

The former Safeway building on King between Washington and Pickett streets was constructed in the early 1950s on the site of the old Greenville Junior High School.

It was later occupied by Texas Book Company, which relocated to the Greenville Airpark.

It had been on the market since 2003.

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