A car pulls out of the City Market parking lot onto Pershing Street. Right in front of the exit, Cindy and Randy Looper, who own the Elk Run Inn, placed a sign denouncing a potential development that would expand City Market and possibly affect their business.

Photo by Collin Smith

A car pulls out of the City Market parking lot onto Pershing Street. Right in front of the exit, Cindy and Randy Looper, who own the Elk Run Inn, placed a sign denouncing a potential development that would expand City Market and possibly affect their business.

Elk Run Inn owners broadcast disapproval of proposed development

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Randy and Cindy Looper are upset about recent events in an ongoing development deal they think will hurt their business, and they want to take their message to the people.

From now on, Randy said, the couple plans to park their truck directly across from the City Market exit onto Pershing Street with signs denouncing the grocery store's expansion as currently planned.

"It will be there whenever I'm not using it," Randy said.

The couple owns the Elk Run Inn, located at the corner of Ranney Street and Victory Way.

For the past few years, an outside developer named Four Hands Craig LLC has pursued a deal to acquire the property that now houses the Post Office, located on Pershing Street behind the Loopers' hotel, and build a new City Market there.

City Market doesn't bother the Loopers, Cindy said.

"It's not the City Market that's the problem," she said. "It's the shopettes that are the problem. Those will box us in."

Along with the Post Office building, Dallas-based firm Rainier Sunwest Portfolio I owns the empty lot on the corner of Pershing and Victory, next to the Elk Run Inn.

Cindy said Four Hands plans to build a small shopping center on that corner, which essentially would "land-lock" her business and limit it to a small access off the highway.

The Loopers were in talks to sell their property to Four Hands, but negotiations fell through after the Loopers thought the offer was too low.

Since then, the corner lot has provoked a dispute between the Loopers and Rainier, which culminated last week when Rainier forced the DeVries Farm Market off its property.

Bill DeVries said he has used the corner of Pershing and Victory to stage the DeVries Farm Market for the past 20 years.

That will end as of this week, DeVries said, because a Rainier representative told one of his employees last week the market would not be allowed on the corner lot anymore.

DeVries said he's tried several times to call Rainier back and offer to pay to lease the space through this year, but he has never gotten a response.

The Rainier representative did not return phone messages from the Daily Press by press time.

Rainier's motivation seems obvious to DeVries, he said.

"They're not building anything now, near as I can tell," DeVries said. "They made us move out of there because - as I say, it's just me and my opinion - they don't want anybody that helps patronize that hotel to be there.

"I got caught in the crossfire."

Starting Wednesday, the Farm Market will be in the Centennial Mall parking lot between Checker Auto Parts and Village Inn.

DeVries said he didn't have a contract for the corner lot, and he paid his lease in produce. When he negotiated a spot at the mall, however, he made sure to get it in writing, and he has the space secured through late October.

Cindy said the way Rainier dealt with DeVries is typical and part of the reason they decided to put up signs warning the community.

"They're not even building anything yet," she said. "Their purpose is to make it difficult for us. I guess I'm just returning the favor."

Negotiations between the couple and Rainier and Four Hands are stagnant for now, Cindy said.

Outside of selling the property, the two sides also have been at odds concerning a three-foot encroachment the Elk Run Inn makes onto Rainier's property.

The Loopers have said they could take the issue to court if anyone tries to make them demolish part of their hotel, which has been there for about 60 years.

Rainier offered to deed the three feet over to the Loopers if they agreed to publicly support whatever development is eventually built, Cindy said, but she refused.

"I'm not going to give them a carte blanche offer to support anything," Cindy said. "What if it's a strip club?"

Phil Mann, managing member of Four Hands Craig, said he had no issue with the Loopers expressing themselves.

"I support their right to express their opinion; that's what the public process is for," he said. "I firmly believe that."

Although negotiations seem to have broken down, the issue is far from quiet.

On Monday, the Loopers' sign had a hand-written message that read, "City Market expansion : at what price?"

The sign was taken down Monday afternoon when it started to rain, but the Loopers said that is only the beginning.

They already have asked Identity Graphics to crate three permanent magnetic signs they can attach to the truck day and night, rain or shine.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

als362 5 years, 3 months ago

To the Loopers: If you are not happy with your current or possible future location, I would recommend you sell you business and move it to a new location that better suits your needs. At least if you did that then people trying to turn the corner south, from Green St. right onto Victory Way, would be able to see the approaching traffic without having to pull almost out into the intersection. It is necessary to do that now because you building, fences, light fixtures, and trees, are way way too close to the street and block a drivers view of on coming traffic. This is a safety hazard. I wish your trees, bushes, fences, and outside light fixtures that run adjacent to Victory Way would be removed.

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grannyrett 5 years, 3 months ago

jeez als-Do you ever have anything nice to say about anything? Looking over your posts the last month-and beyond, I guess not.

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luvbug 5 years, 3 months ago

The Loopers have made their hotel very beautiful! You can drive all over Craig expecially on Victory Way from any direction and can't see on coming traffic due to cars parked along side of the road or on the corner of Woodbury and Victory the sign blocks the view when your trying to turn west and all the hunters parking their huge trucks and trailers that end up blocking from both directions.So please don't bash them for helping Craig be beautiful.

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Rebelgirl 5 years, 3 months ago

I can understand the worry the owners of the hotel have. I also agree with luvbug that they have done a lot to improve the hotel the recent work has been an improvement. I do not agree with what the developers are doing however. To kick off DeVries is just uncalled for. How petty can a company be?? There is no development there and knowing the slow rate of some construction projects in Craig it could be years before it acctually happens. And thats assuming the City acctually approves it!!! Why not leave the businesses alone untill you acctually get ready to do something instead of irritating the locals and their business.

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lonelyone 5 years, 3 months ago

good point abc. I have seen the sign several times and not thought of it in that light.

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lonelyone 5 years, 3 months ago

I have nothing against the owners of the motel and I too think they have done a great job of fixing up the motel......even when things weren't looking to good for them and their "stairwell" this summer. I do think the complaint of being land locked is a bit much tho. I realize they've gotten use to being able to use that corner lot for their over flow parking and such, but they'll just have to learn to make do with their one little driveway for in and out traffic. One the other hand I think it's too bad that DeVries has been forced off the corner. But they have made do with the hand they've been delt. All of this is really too bad because it's just friction the community doesn't really need. And as I've said before, that motel has been there for 60 years, why is it that the 3 foot thing was never caught during any of the sales???

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abc 5 years, 3 months ago

The Loopers state that City Market does not bother them, so why are they bashing City Market on the sign? They make City Market sound like bullies. I don't think that is very fair to City Market and their customers. Maybe they should re-word their sign if they feel this is the only way they can get their message out.

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dogfan 5 years, 3 months ago

als, if that corner bothers you not being able to see take a different street. Try pulling out of Murdoch's on the west side when trucks are parked on both sides of their driveway. You can't see squat...

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lonelyone 5 years, 3 months ago

9th and Finnley! 6th and Pershing! Barclay and 7th, if I'm thinking of the right spot, use to be pretty bad too because of a fence on the corner. there seem to be alot of bad places in Craig. Even my own street has a bad spot on it, but I can't get away from it.

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David Moore 5 years, 3 months ago

One of the intersections of concern has got to be where Legion Street meets Highway 40. The retaining wall(with it's associated shrubbery) forces you to get very close to the highway in order to see westbound traffic. Been that way as long as I can remember, surprised there has not been a major incident at that corner.

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