Oct. 28—Mason is a destination location for world-class roller coasters, professional tennis, innovation and soon a gourmet grocery.
Dayton-based Dorothy Lane Market announced plans on Wednesday to enter the greater Cincinnati market to build its fourth location as part of a $150 million mixed-use planned community at the corner of Mason-Montgomery and Western Row roads, where the Western Row golf course was formerly located.
"We're very excited by the prospect of joining the Mason community," said DLM owner Norman Mayne. "For over 70 years, we've been serving customers in Dayton, but also many who come to us from the Greater Cincinnati area. We've been searching for years for the right place for a store there. We feel fortunate to have found this excellent location in Mason. It's been great to work with the City of Mason and we already feel at home there."
Known for its high-end food and shopping experience, DLM has been family owned and operated since 1948. Groundbreaking in Mason could occur in 2022, pending local government approvals.
DLM operates three locations in the Dayton area: the original Oakwood store, a Washington Twp. market that opened in 1991, and a Springboro store that opened in 2002. DLM marketing director Jessie Kuhn said the Mason store will be similar in size to the Springboro location.
Kristin Mullins, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association, said she was not surprised that DLM was building a store in the Greater Cincinnati market.
"Dorothy Lane Market has always been an exceptional and outstanding organization," Mullins said. "I knew he was looking to expand ... they were on the lookout for a new opportunity."
She said DLM is a nice market with upscale products and great customer service along with their Killer Brownies, meat and produce. Mullins said these markets all bring something different and unique to the table for their customers.
"All of their departments are above spec," she said. "Smaller grocers know their clientele and they know what they are craving for."
Brittain Ladd, a global retail consultant based Dallas, Texas, said, "a large majority of consumers are looking for a unique destination, a unique format, a unique assortment of products and a new experience."
Ladd stores such as Dorothy Lane Market can be successful and be competitive if they have the right look and feel.
"I believe it's a format that could be scaled across several states because they have the right assortment of products and right experience," Ladd said. "They're not trying to be Kroger. They need to be the 'anti-Kroger.' They need to have an identity and mission and stay true to both."
Traditions Building & Development Group is co-developing the project with Western Row Land Developers, the property owners. This new 70-acre mixed-use development will feature 80,000 square feet of specialty retail and restaurants, including the gourmet grocer.
"Dorothy Lane Market will be a wonderful anchor for our new walkable community, which will create an exciting destination for upscale retail and restaurants and the latest in lifestyle living opportunities," said Tom Humes, president of Traditions Group and project co-developer.
The development will feature five lakes, a waterfront boardwalk and walking paths with a central green connecting DLM, restaurants and retail shops to a boutique hotel and residential lifestyle community (up to 120 residences) on the site as well as nearby neighborhoods. The golf course that was previously there closed in 2007.
"We appreciate the vision that Ellen Zopff Todia and the entire Zopff family have as landowners, and the work of the Traditions Group team in developing the project," Mayne said, adding that the DLM store could become"an exciting food destination" for Mason and Greater Cincinnati.
The city of Mason also announced the purchase of 27 acres adjacent to and part of the mixed-use development for an "innovation-driven" business park to attract key industry sectors in tech and biohealth.
Mason City Council moved forward on the purchase that put the mixed-use project in motion, including the purchase of the future business park property and authorizing incentives to further infrastructure and shared access. The project is subject to final agreements between all parties and receiving all necessary planning commission, governmental and final Council approvals.
"There has been considerable interest in developing this property over many years. After much work and collaboration, I think we've found a partner and a concept that provides the best mix of uses to benefit residents and the tax base by preserving these 27 acres as a significant future employment center," said Eric Hansen, Mason city manager. "The city was able to leverage our interest in growing future business and employment opportunities to secure unique residential and commercial destinations."
The new park, which will be part of a 70-acre mixed-use Planned Unit Development (PUD), is located along a key business corridor on Mason-Montgomery Road known for healthcare and technical investments.
"This development and partnership will act as a touchpoint for the City's global business attraction work, as well as our startup strategy. Preservation of this property and the business park design connections to the mixed-use development is another way Mason can both attract and scale targeted companies," said Michele Blair, Mason economic development director.
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Ed Richter has been a working journalist for 35 years, with the last 30 years working in various capacities covering Butler and Warren counties as a reporter and an editor. An award-winning journalist, Richter covers local news and governments in Middletown, Monroe, Franklin, Carlisle and Franklin Twp.