City Council, C-store Cross Paths

KELLEY, Iowa -- A local family hope to open a store that will serve not only soft drinks and groceries, but also serve as a neighborhood gathering place.

Jay Morgan and his wife, Trish (White), are scheduled to open M&W Friendly Neighbors this month -- that is if residents let them.

Located at the intersection of two county highways, many of the town's residents have expressed concern about visibility at one of the proposed store's three driveways.

Residents submitted a petition with some 100 signatures to the Kelley City Council voicing those concerns, the Ames Tribune of Iowa reported.

"It's a dangerous spot," said Becky Christiansen, who helped start the petition. "There's a dip, a low-point where the visibility is really limited. . . We heard a lot of comments [from fellow petitioners] about how that driveway is an accident waiting to happen."

Morgan, however, said the line of site leading to the entrance more than satisfies state regulations. "I am concerned about safety and I appreciate their passion about this, but I disagree with their figures," he said.

As for the store itself, it is not an urban cookie-cutter, Morgan told the newspaper. As the name suggests, Morgan said, "Small towns as a whole need a place like this, a place where people can gather and visit. We want to get away from the type of convenience stores in big towns. ... Stores like the one we're opening are a little bit of Americana."

The store features two fuel pumps with ethanol and unleaded. It will also have diesel fuel. Inside, customers will find traditional c-store fare -- a cooler, groceries, as well as a selection of prepared food and an area to sit and eat and visit.

The Morgans, who plan to operate the store themselves with help from family members, also plan to offer fresh food, including pizza, burgers, chicken, breakfast sandwiches and a variety of other meals.