After a year, Canaan Store has closed

Tia Lynn Ivey Community

The Canaan Corner Store, a redevelopment project of Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is closing after a year in business and is up for sale. 

The store, located on Burney Street, opened with fanfare last July after five years of planning and grant work to revamp and reopen a long-gone corner store where an iconic pink building stood.  The project aimed to bring groceries and other household items back into the Canaan Community. The store was owned by Rita and Henry Harris, with investor Marilyn Williams.

“The Downtown Development Authority would like to thank Rita and Henry Harris and Marilyn Williams for their investment into the Canaan Corner Store,” said a press release from the DDA. “The Harris’s have decided to pursue different options and for a limited time will consider the sale of their business, complete with the all the equipment and furnishings.”

The DDA is entertaining business proposals from interested parties with special consideration given to locals to take over the store. 

“The building is presently equipped with a full kitchen and may be considered for a store, food service establishment, or alternative business use. DDA reserves the right to reject all offers to maintain compatibility with the other tenants located on the Gilmore property,” explained the DDA press release. 

According to Monica Callahan, Director of City Planning, the City anticipates a new business to open out of the Canaan Store this fall. 

“The Harris’ decided to transition at the end of the lease period with Henry taking a new job.  DDA has received interest from at least five individuals, some interested in operating the store and some interested in other uses of the building.  A committee of the DDA committee will entertain proposals until mid-August and conduct business interviews.  With normal maintenance and move-in time for a new tenant, we expect that a business will be in place this Fall,” said Callahan. 

City officials are eager to find new tenants with a business plan that will benefit the local Canaan community.  In 2012, The City of Madison selected the location for redevelopment to recreate a corner store for the local Canaan neighborhood. Madison Mayor Fred Perriman had fond memories of the original corner store that existed there when he was growing up in town. 

In 2015, the city was given a Redevelopment Fund Grant in the amount of $101,000 to demolish the old pink building and rebuild a new, modern corner store.   

“This is all part of our efforts to revitalize the Canaan District,” said Perriman last year about the project. “It’s a great opportunity. I think it will be good to have a store back in the Canaan area once again, when I was in high school it was very well utilized and it brings excitement back to the community.”

The DDA has pledged to limit any future uses of the building to businesses that fit the City’s original vision for the site. The City of Madison leaders have long hoped that helping to establish a convenient corner shop would once again give local residents easy access to groceries and household products. Madison’s Downtown Development Authority was a key component to securing the store’s future, which identified the location to receive redevelopment funds. 

“The store was prioritized to bring groceries and convenience items back to a section of the city which is geographically isolated and foot traffic oriented,” said a press release from the City of Madison in 2017.

According to the release, “DDA prioritized this type of project and funding source because of the win–win–win potential. A neighborhood is improved by the removal of a vacant eyesore, and modest households benefit from having convenience items within walking distance; the DDA executes one part of the Urban Redevelopment Plan, which works best when a multifaceted and layered approach is implemented…”

Now the DDA will decide the future of the Canaan Store as the group is tasked with the responsibility of selecting the building’s next tenants. 

For questions regarding proposals, please contact Monica Callahan at 9706) 342-1251, ext. 207.

For information on the current business, contact Rita Harris at (706) 474-0404.

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