FORNEY -- What makes a new grocery store a news story?

When it's the first of its kind in Texas, and it's not springing up in a high-society Dallas neighborhood. It opened in a former farm town that's now a booming suburb.

'Yeah, we went from all the rolling plains to all the asphalt and concrete!' said shopper Vicki Ross with a laugh, describing a far-from-subtle change in the city she's called home for almost two decades. 'This shows Forney is up and coming and that we're growing. And growth is good.'

Kroger opened its newest Marketplace store on Friday, and it's the only Kroger in Texas with an apparel department.

'The exciting thing is, they were willing to take a risk on Forney - building the store - and they were also willing to take a risk on building something unique to Kroger,' city manager Brian Brooks said.

'Wal-Mart's been all we had, and Wal-Mart's great, but now it's something extra,' said Carol Komisarz, who came out of the new Kroger with a big smile on her face. 'It's outstanding. It's one-stop shopping like they said. Everything is here. It's long overdue for Forney.'

Forney's Economic Development Corporation said population tripled from 2003 to 2013 and retail sales are up by $1.5 billion over the same time period.

'Twenty minutes from downtown, some of the best schools in the state, an incredibly giving and caring environment -- that's what people are in Forney, and people are finding out,' said Brooks. 'There's a lot of people that think of us as a small town, and we appreciate that feeling, but in reality, we're a town of about 40,000 now.'

There are chain restaurants and retail outlets up and down Highway 80. A Wal-Mart and a Lowe's are there, too.

Forney plans another huge retail and entertainment development a little further east, where a bridge is under construction crossing over the highway and a railroad track, connecting Forney's north and south sides.

Brooks believes a success story from Kroger will help lure other big name stores there.

'Nothing is signed completely yet, but everybody is looking at that as the next wave of retail development,' Brooks said. 'With that comes jobs, better quality of life.'

'It is a whole booming place, and this is just another sign of its growth, and it's wonderful,' Komisarz said.


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