CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- This region of central Illinois has a population of 100,000 -- and a 230,000-square-foot Meijer's suspercenter. There's also a 178,000-square-foot Kmart supercenter, four Supervalu County Market discount stores and two Schnuck Markets measuring 60,000 and 70,000 square feet. One would think it impossible for an independent supermarket to do business in a climate as competitive as this, but that is far from the case. A group of independent store operators from this and ...

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