The impending closing of Ray’s Apple Market on Sixth Street will leave a hole that residents would like to see filled.
Ray’s owners Mike and Nelda Floersch announced on March 5 that the store at 222 N. Sixth St. store would close.
As of Friday morning, Mike said the last day would be next Tuesday.
The owners said they would be looking to enter a sublease agreement with someone. They lease the building from a company called Essex Holding LLC.
Mike said the primary focus at the moment, though, has been on closing the store.
“We haven’t pursued anything yet (on a sublease),” he said. “We’re just working on closing.”
Mike said he doesn’t have a particular timeline in mind for when a sublease agreement might be made.
“Until you get an interested party, there isn’t much you can do about it,” he said.
There has been speculation in the community about what could happen.
Lyle Butler, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce president, said he figures the transition would happen sooner rather than later.
“I’m not anticipating that building will be vacant very long,” he said. “It’s in a good location.”
Butler spoke with the Riley County Commission during his monthly report Thursday about the possibilities for the area – including expansion of county offices and parking.
He said several people have called him with ideas, many of them discussing a community center.
“Our role, when we have people contact us, is that we will definitely refer people to Ray’s,” Butler said.
Patrick McLaughlin, associate pastor of missions and outreach at First United Methodist, said his vision for Ray’s would be “Shepherd’s Crossing on steroids.”
Shepherd’s Crossing is a group of local churches that provide financial assistance for those in need.
McLaughlin, who helped organize the 24-hour service event Everybody Counts, said the group behind the event has been looking for a way to create a social services center to help people in poverty.
Butler said he believes whatever goes into the soon-to-be vacant store will be beneficial to the community.
“The Floerschs have been great community people and support a lot in the community,” he said.