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Farmers & Merchants Bank helps fill in Wabash Commons

The Wabash Commons retail development in West Lafayette is getting another tenant.

Farmers & Merchants Bank is opening a new branch at the Sagamore Parkway site. The bank has branches in Boswell, Otterbein, and West Lebanon.

President Grant Whaley says many existing customers have moved to the West Lafayette area or do much of their business here.

"Our bank is a small, locally owned bank, but we want to keep growing. So, we looked around and said, 'Where's a market we can come into, and keep growing?' And West Lafayette is just ideal."

Whaley notes that when Farmers & Merchants was established in 1903, the population of Benton and Warren counties totaled about 25,000. He says it's now about 17,000.

"A lot of our businesspeople and neighbors have moved to this area. So, in small ways, we're just following customers here already. We think this will be a better location to keep relationships with those people and just to build some new ones."

Whaley says they plan to hire four full-time and possibly two part-time employees. He says more staff could be added later.

Construction is expected to take about seven months. Whaley says that would put an opening date sometime in November.

In addition to the bank, Wabash Commons will see construction begin June 1 on the new I.U. Health Arnett medical building. The facility with an urgent care and physicians' offices has a tentative opening date of October 1, 2013.

Mike's Carwash was the first new business to build at the site, which already has a building with several store fronts - one is Silver Dipper. West Lafayette Director of Development Chandler Poole says, "there is a 0.9 acre parcel left, and it is spoken for."