COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – An empty Kroger store in southeast Columbus will soon be offering food again.

The Mid-Ohio Food Collective (MOFC) purchased the building near the corner of Refugee Road and Hamilton Road for an “anti-hunger service hub,” the collective announced in a press release Monday.

MOFC is still coming up with plans for the 67,000-square-foot space but said the location will offer food access and critically needed services and support for people in the area, working with the community to figure out what those services would be.

Located near the similarly closed Eastland Mall, the former Kroger closed in May 2022 after serving as an anchor store for a strip mall at 4485 Refugee Road. According to the press release, MOFC and Kroger struck a deal that let the collective purchase the strip mall for a below-market price.

MOFC said the strip mall’s current tenants will not be affected by the purchase.

“It’s a lot of space with a lot of raw potential,” MOFC President and CEO Matt Habish said in the press release. “This is a chance to learn from the nearby community, respond to their needs, and build something that can help tackle the interconnected causes of hunger on a scale Columbus has never seen before.”

According to a Kroger spokesperson, there were several entities interested in purchasing the property, but the grocer’s existing relationship with MOFC steered the sale.

“We are excited to find out what services this partnership can make available for our neighbors and customers in the area,” Amy McCormick, corporate affairs manager for The Kroger Co. and MOFC board member, said.

MOFC operates several Mid-Ohio Markets in the area, providing families with free fresh food.

There is no word on what MOFC paid for the building or when it would open the southeast side facility.

Anyone looking for more information can check out the Mid-Ohio Food Collective website by clicking here.