(The Center Square) – As part of the Illinois Grocery Initiative, eligible local grocers can now apply for funding for energy-efficient equipment upgrades at a $3.5 million cost to taxpayers.
State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, said rural grocery stores in his district have a hard time competing with the big box stores like Walmart.
“A lot of these little grocery stores, their equipment like coolers and freezers are 60 years old. Their energy bills are through the roof,” Fowler said. “We will see how this unfolds, and then there will be another phase. I have a county in my district, Gallatin County, and there’s not one single grocery store. A lot of these individuals have to go across state lines to buy their groceries.”
Fowler said things like taxation and high energy costs are making it more difficult for rural grocers to buy the equipment on their own.
“It’s going to