Mulholland's Moving Forward With Rebuild Of Malvern Grocery Store

Malvern grocer Tom Mulholland is acquiring the green park space north of his property from the City of Malvern to expand the size of his store. (COURTESY PHOTO / KENT HERTZ Hz PRODUCTIONS)

Tom Mulholland’s plans to rebuild his Main Street grocery store in Malvern are moving forward.

Mulholland announced his plans to “rebuild” and “reopen” the store in January, less than month after the business was gutted and destroyed by a massive fire.

In March, Mulholland came before the Mills County Board of Supervisors to discuss his business plans and desire to rebuild.

“We’re trying to be as efficient as possible but I also want to make it as nice as possible because I want this to be there for the future of the community,” Mulholland said. “It isn’t just about getting me back for the next couple years, five years, 10 years, whatever it is. I certainly expect it to be a fair amount of time but I want it to be there for the future, too. I want to do whatever I can for my community.”

Mulholland said down the road the store will likely be sold to a new owner.

“I don’t have anyone in my family to hand it down to so I’m going to need to find someone that wants to continue it and the nicer store that we can put there at this time gives us a better chance of having somebody want to continue to serve the community and the region,” he said.
Mulholland said hometown grocery stores are important to the vitality of rural communities, noting the negative impact grocery store closures have had on the southwest Iowa communities of Hamburg, Tabor, Villisca, Griswold and Treynor.

“The businesses in Malvern all feed off of each other and enhance each other,” he added.

Supervisor Richard Crouch echoed Mulholland’s sentiment.

“It goes to show how vital it is to the community,” Crouch said. “The uncertainty of not knowing if the store is coming back is a hindrance to growth.”

Last week, Mulholland announced on his store’s Facebook page that he’s acquiring the two lots north of his property from the City of Malvern to allow for the size of the store to be expanded. Mulholland wants to build a store that’s aesthetically pleasing and fits in visually with the established architecture of Malvern’s other Main Street buildings. Part of his plan, he told the county supervisors, is to have apartment space above the grocery store.

During his discussion with the county board, Mulholland said he was still gathering cost estimates and other necessary information to proceed with the rebuild project. No specifics were discussed but Mulholland expressed hope that county officials would do whatever they can financially or otherwise to support the project.

The supervisors voiced their encouragement.

“Tom, like I emailed you, we’ve got your back,” supervisor Carol Vinton said. “We will try to do . . . we’ve got to keep our Malvern going.”

Mulholland’s has been a staple of the Malvern business community for generations with a history that dates back to the 1870s when it was a dry goods store.

The Opinion-Tribune

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