New owners for Orion businesses

by Mindy Carls correspondent

Two Orion businesses have new owners, Village President Jim Cooper announced to the village board before its meeting on Monday, Dec. 21.

Cooper said earlier in the day he had signed a liquor license for the new owners of Orion IGA, an investment group excited about coming to the village. The group wants to sell hard liquor. Orion IGA’s current license allows it, but owner Jerry Shawgo has chosen to sell only beer and wine.

The same group, which includes Adam Bakener of Orion, also is buying Orion True Value Hardware, Cooper said.

Village Clerk Lori Sampson said the ownership changes take effect in mid-January.

Cooper said he, Sampson and Trustee Mel Drucker met with the investment group on Friday, Dec. 18.

“We wanted the new owners to understand Orion is a very unique community with a grocery store, a hardware store and a pharmacy, and we emphasized we want to keep all three,” the village president said.

Cooper’s understanding is that the new owners are keeping all of the employees of the two stores.

The plan is to remodel the hardware store and a limited stock of lumber, including 2x4’s and plywood, he said.

The grocery store will deliver to older residents, Cooper said.

In other business

• Cooper said he contacted Main Street Orion’s new executive director, Kassi Clear, and suggested the organization offer an incentive for area residents to take out meals from Orion residents. The village will not act until Main Street Orion has made a decision.

Trustee Bob Mitton pointed out helping restaurants would be an excellent way for Main Street Orion to help the village, which provides $10,000 a year for the organization. Because pandemic restrictions led to cancellation of most events, Main Street has money to use for economic development.

• Pipe for the Fifth Street drainage project has been installed, Trustee Neal Nelson said. The dirt will settle over winter, and the area will be seeded in spring.

Where sidewalk was removed, the old slabs were put back in, he said. Walkers should be aware the sidewalks are uneven. The village will replace them next year.

• This year only one rainstorm was heavy enough to push the sewer plant to the brink of overflow, Trustee Ryan Hancock said.

• Water Superintendent Arnie Sandberg has cleaned the exterior of the west groundwater storage tank, Drucker said.

• Drucker asked village employees to keep lighted displays in Central Park until Tuesday, Jan. 5.

• The board approved meeting dates on the first and third Mondays of each month in 2021, with two exceptions because of holidays. Because Independence Day falls on a Sunday, the next day, July 5, will be a holiday and the board will meet Wednesday, July 7. Also, because Labor Day is on a Monday, the board will meet Wednesday, Sept. 8.