CARMEL — When an O'Malia's supermarket owned by Marsh shut down more than one year ago, Carmel's east side was left without a grocery store.
There's only an empty storefront at 126th Street and Gray Road and residents hope the city can do something about that.
"It's a very vibrant little community. We have a pharmacy and restaurants and so many nice things and to not have a grocery store and a bank, I think that's sad," said Anne Garman, who lives in the area.
Another resident, Robert Ross, echoes those concerns.
"The O'Malia's was convenient. When Marsh went out of business, we are limited on our options, going to places like Walmart are a little more problematic with parking and things like that, so it's nice to have a local grocery operation. I would like to see somebody take up space in the store," said Ross.
City Council Candidate of the southeast district, Adam Aasen said he hopes the empty storefront won't be vacant for long.
"The O’Malia’s was a beloved piece of property here we would love to see a tenant coming here. The concern is if it stays vacant for too long," Aasen said. "It could have a negative impact on the businesses which right now are doing very well and it could have an impact on housing prices nearby."
Another City Council Candidate of the southeast district, Dave Hommel, also expresses the importance of getting a business in there.
"I think we, the residence the longtime residents want the potential grocers to know that this is a thriving hub. It will be used," Hommel said. "There is absolutely no way you can’t make a profit here. This plaza is very important to 30,000 people."
And it's not just residents who are inconvenienced.
Other business owners in the shopping center see the vacant store as a negative.
"Part of our business model is we want to be convenient for our clients to get their haircut and it's nice when they can come to the strip center and do multiple things with one trip, " said Sport Clips owner Gary Sexton. "It's convenient for our clients and it's great for our business and we want our team members to be able to earn as much money as possible by having a lot of clients. With the grocery store and the bank being gone it does impact our business."
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and his economic development team are working to bring a new supermarket to the area, but face some challenges.
"We've had to get over the fact that the company that owned this store went bankrupt. We have to convince them that it wasn't because of this particular location, but because of bad management throughout the Midwest," said Brainard.
The shopping center should get a new owner soon, and Brainard is optimistic a supermarket can be found for what he calls, "a great location."