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Hutto looks to attract grocery stores

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TWC News: Hutto looks to attract grocery stores
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About 30 miles north of Austin, just a ways down Highway 79, sits a former farm town called Hutto.

Residents love the city, but say it's still lacking in a few areas.

"I moved here from Round Rock. I like the small town feel," Hutto Resident Donna Warman said. "[But] You've either got to plan your day to go to Taylor, to the grocery store, or Walmart in Round Rock or HEB in Round Rock."

Warman says she and her neighbors try to coordinate with each other so they don’t have to make daily trips to other cities.

"We even say, ‘Hey, if you're going into town, if you're going to the grocery store, can you get this and this for me?" she said.

Officials say when Warman, her neighbors and the rest of Hutto take off to do their grocery shopping, they're taking away almost $90 million that could have been spent in Hutto.

"We obviously have a great deal of retail leakage," Hutto Economic Development Corporation Scott Martinez said. "A lot of our growth has been in the residential segment and not in the commercial or light industrial or some of the other segments that produce jobs."

It’s bad for the local economy, but city officials hope it'll change soon.

"We think we're at that tipping point now with the amount of rooftops that we have and the population that we have that we would be very attractive to a grocer," City Manager Dave Mitchell said. "Our citizen survey showed it was the number one need, so it really was a no brainer for us."

Recently, the Hutto City Council passed a resolution of support for a grocery store. City officials encourage Hutto residents to write letters to their favorite store. Officials say one developer representing a grocery store chain has reached out to the council.

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