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Town Grocery Store Closes

Martha Scott
January 12, 2019

Three years ago our biggest stand alone grocery store closed. Two years later after a huge remodel, a "big city" grocery store opened in that space! I was ecstatic.

A year later -- 13 months after it opened, it, too, is closing.

Reason: Not enough sales

Why not enough sales -- not Amazon as much as people shop out of town -- they drive an hour north or south to go to "big city" stores and Sam's and Costco or they go 30 miles south for another big city store or Aldi's.

Now we're back to having Wal Mart or our little "dirty" grocery store to shop in.

They are having their liquidation sale with 33% off EVERYTHING and there are lines everywhere! I was there at about 1 this afternoon and the meat left was ham, turkey, goose, pig feet and turkey necks. The shelves of pop are almost bare.

But in looking at the refrigerated case, etc., it would appear that they probably haven't had a delivery for at least a week (very little milk, cottage cheese, etc.)

I am sad and hope our city fathers find some store to go into that space.

So some of you who NEVER shop at Wal Mart remember that some of us don't have choices. Sure, I COULD spend half a day and drive 200 miles to shop somewhere else but my time is valuable and I could spend that gas money on groceries. So shop Wal Mart it is!

Comments (117)

  • Elmer J Fudd

    I usually don't comment if I agree with someone. To me, that's like shouting "Hallelujah" at a revival meeting. Why bother?

    Accusing me of misogyny is a joke, I'll let it pass because you don't know me. The many close female relationships and female friends I have now and have had all my life, independent of any relationships I have because of my wife's friends, would disagree with you.

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    Here’s another perspective. I live in a small town in a county with less than 10,000 residents in the WHOLE county. We don’t have a Walmart, but there is one in each of two adjacent counties. And we are grateful that they there are - if we lived in the county just west of here, we’d have to drive over 30 miles just to buy a pair of socks.

    We do have one local (midwestern-chain) grocery store, and it’s decent. In the past we’ve had various other grocery stores but they never last long. Our chain grocery viciously drives each one out of business in short order by using the same marketing strategies as WalMart. So I believe a bit of the anger/scorn directed at WM is misplaced. They’re not doing anything that any other fierce competitor would do.

  • adellabedella_usa


    What I don't get is if WM is so awful, why is it always so busy?

    I would say it is convenience. You know they will be open. You can get a variety of things there. People have been taught they are the low price leader although I found that is not necessarily true.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " it’s just the stating of facts "

    It's always nice to hear from people who view their opinions as fact and self-proclaim their actions the result of being politically, envonmentally, and socially aware. People who disagree are wrong and little more than unthinking, selfish trend followers.

    It's a good practice to keep eyes open and listen to what others have to say, we all can learn that way. But it is threatening to realize that maybe we're wrong sometimes or that others have valid views to consider. .

  • nickel_kg

    In my former rural home, independent stores failed a long time ago. Our shopping choices for the best part of two decades were Food Lion or the second Food Lion, or drive an hour to town then fight traffic to the shopping areas. So everyone in the county was joyful when we finally got our own CVS, then our own Wal-Mart! Now there's even a Dollar General. Not very upscale choices, but better than nothing. So I understand the original post's lament.

    We've since retired to a small city with tons of grocery shopping options. I understand Elmer's point about "local" by and of itself not being a compelling reason to support an institution ... but my local options each have an angle that I like. Three are completely independent, one is a part of a six-store chain, plus we have a Kroger, a Martin's, and three Food Lions. All within 10 miles of my house -- such luxury!!!

    I'm surprised and kind saddened by all the non-love for Krogers. The one in my town is a reliable source for produce, local beers, eggs, and the local dairy I favor. And I like their house brand ice cream.

    One of the reasons I do not shop for groceries at the nearby WalMart or Target is -- I feel overwhelmed by all the shelves of "stuff" that I do not want. I shop for groceries every couple of days. I shop for clothes or toys a couple times per year, don't want it in my face more often than that.

  • Lucille

    behind the scenes business practices

    From John D. Rockefeller on, successful business people have many times been ruthless. You don't hear about the kind entrepreneurs because they many times went out of business.

    Rockefeller spent later years as a philanthropist, but when he was making money there were commonplace stories of his business practices.

    I think there are misconceptions about business, from those who perhaps are kind and gentle people and who do not understand the nature of razor sharp competition.

    But that kind of competition lifts large economies, and while one can criticize if one wishes, there are two sides.

  • anneliese32

    Got to agree with littlebug. Due to old age and bad eyesight, my husband and I don't drive anymore. I can walk to Walmart 2 miles down the road and take my rolling grocery bag back or take a $10.00 taxi home. The alternative, go to three other chains in the next town and pay $80.00 round trip. Guess where I shop.

  • marilyn_c

    I live 15 miles from town...there is a Walmart, Kroger, and HEB in that town, and a private owned grocery also. The private one is groceries, hardware, gift shop and feed store all in one long building. I do buy my horse feed there, which is many times more than what I spend on groceries.

    I prefer HEB, but the one here is very small....the one I like, is about 35 miles away. When I can, I go there...especially for meat. The Walmart is very clean. The produce is as good or better than Kroger. I buy some things there...some at Kroger. I forgot....there is also an Aldi's. I'm not crazy about it. Small and not a good selection. Also a farm store that I buy some fruit and vegetables and always sausage.

    The main problem I have with Walmart is the parking lot. Always crowded.

    I do prefer to check my own groceries, and I can do that at Kroger and Walmart. The big HEB that I like...almost every time I go, I come home without something or something extra....that the baggers missed.

  • Fori

    I used to live in a tiny rural town with a Walmart. It didn't have groceries but when I needed stuff to repair my toilet on a Sunday and the TWO hardware stores weren't open, I could kind of see why they might feel threatened by Walmart.

    I don't go to Walmart now that I have options.

    About the appeal (or lack) of Trader Joe's, there must be a great deal of variation between stores.

    I go to mine often for the basics because it is cheap, close, easy to park at, isn't busy if you go at the correct time, and has nice people working. (I have been informed that this is not the case for most branches!)

  • Elmer J Fudd

    I've been to maybe a dozen or more Trader Joes in California and maybe half a dozen in other states (including what I recall to be a smallish one in lukkirish's neighborhood) and have never had other than a positive experience. Many of the products it carries are quirky and often one of a kind, its employees are often quirky, and it's a very different experience from a regular grocery store. They'll take anything back as a return even if open with no questions asked. I find it pays to be careful, some of their products are chosen to be price competitive rather than of a better quality. On the other hand, it offers products not easily found in other stores that we like (I could name a dozen right now) and I enjoy going to the two nearby ones.

  • marilyn_c

    My daughter works for Trader Joe's in Houston. (She is definitely " quirky".)

    She loves it. I have never been, but every time she comes to see me, she brings me a shopping bag full of stuff from there. I have enjoyed it all, except the ginger beer....which must be an acquired taste. To me it tasted like liquid Vick's Vapor Rub...but I especially loved the brioche and the truffles.

  • Kathsgrdn

    Marylyn, I bought Ginger Ale at Christmas time, it said on the label and sign "with a kick". Boy did it have a kick, cleared my head and throat right up! We all had a taste and then I sent it home with my daughter who was going to let her boyfriend try it. I saw it still in her fridge the other day when I was at her apartment. No one liked it.

  • linda_6

    I shop at Walmart all the time. You can't beat their prices. Why should I pay more money for the exact same product that the other store carry. I also shop at Giant Eagle and Shop N Save. These stores are close to each other and their parking lots are just as full as Walmart.

  • Lucille

    Marilyn, I think the private store you are speaking of is Stanton's. I used to go there sometime when I lived in Alvin. They are an old family and the grocery store is old fashioned with a lunch bar. Amazing home made sausage, but high prices on most of the canned/grocery items. The feed store had wonderful service though. I mostly shopped at Walmart there too.

  • marilyn_c

    Yes, Stanton's. I think they have been in business since 1922. I also go to Froberg's. They have expanded considerably over the years. They have wonderful sausage. I haven't tried Stanton's. I never cared much about sausage one way or another, until I tried Froberg's. Now if I am cooking something like red beans...sausage and rice...I won't, until I go there for the sausage.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " I come from a family of shrewd buisness minded people... "

    How does this even remotely affect you personally? I hope you're not suggesting that. What have you yourself accomplished, if this is your premise?

    You like Bill Gates? I do too. Microsoft has had a classic monopolistic position in the PC software business almost since Day One and has operated in very heavy handed ways (legally) to eliminate competition. I know of several companies, successful for periods of time, whose demise came from the very aggressive actions of Microsoft. That's business, not anything else.

    Warren Buffett? His investing philosophy is to buy companies who have established brand names and dominant market positions. How do you suppose they each accomplished this?

    Ethics is a value, not an objective. Most large companies are ethical and have rules for same...but that doesn't limit being aggressive.

    Your opinions might be different if you were better informed. By the way, what's a "Trumpian" company.

  • IdaClaire

    Good lord. Some people thrive on arguing, don't they!

  • tinam61

    I live somewhat rural but close enough to bigger cities. We do not have a Walmart in our little city, but we don't have a locally owned grocery store either. We do have 2 chain stores, one is better (better meats and produce especially) and that is where I go weekly. The other I might go in a couple times a month for an occasional item. I do not shop at Walmart. I also don't shop at Costco and Sam's. It would be at least a 30 minute drive for me and with only two of us, we don't buy alot of items in bulk. I do, however, use Jet for some items, usually only a monthly order and yesterday just placed my first Amazon Prime Pantry order (I had a $10 coupon). We'll see how that goes.

  • l pinkmountain

    Economics is rife with "externalities" where you push the cost of something onto someone else or delay it for some other time or it just occurs and is an unintended consequence. Sometimes there are externalities that are benefits too. That phenomenon in itself has no value to it, it is just events. When you are the one a cost or consequence gets dumped on, then you will have your value perspective on it, hence the ethics. Folks aren't always going to agree on these things due to humans having such varied experiences upon which they base their knowledge of "how things are." Rural vs. urban vs part of the country, vs market niches, etc., etc. Worth discussing respectfully, IMHO. Fabulous opportunity to learn things . . . Rather disingenuous IMHO to say that these things don't matter. They are the bread and butter of life. They don't matter to a calculator, that is true.

    Another ethical issue, when someone is suffering, let's say repetitive motion injuries, because it was an externality of their job, do we say, "Tough luck buttercup, that's just the way the economic cookie crumbles." Now I'm not exactly sure where one should draw the line, but I would't dismiss an externality per se as being unimportant or unworthy of discussion, to me that would be disrespectful of the person or group experiencing it.

    Also, economics is nothing if not the assigning of "value" to things, so saying shopping or anything else you do in your daily life shouldn't be "political" is rather native or perhaps an issue of semantics. Politics is the art of getting things done, there is no ethics or value determination in that statement, but there may be ethical considerations to your methods, and cost vs benefit values are often associated with many, many common actions.

  • fran1523

    I;m so sad for you but I guess that's the way it is in small towns. There's just not enough business to provide a lot of choices. I'm fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) to live in a densely populated area where there are lots of choices. Two or three of two major food chains plus Trader Joe's, Costco and BJ's I've never understood the appeal of the big membership box stores. I abhor the thought of paying $50 to shop for groceries or anything for that matter. Perhaps it's worth it if you have a large family or entertain a lot but not for me.

  • bob_cville

    I think a couple of grocery stores have closed over the years we've been here, but there are so many different grocery stores that I am not sure. :-) One locally-owned IGA store, the relatively recent Fresh Market, and one of the two Giant stores, have closed. But still remaining are Harris Teeter (3 stores), Kroger (3 stores), Food Lion (2? stores), Trader Joe's, Wegman's, Whole Foods, Costco, and at least three smaller locally-owned stores. There is a Walmart, but I don't know whether that particular store has groceries.

    If some of you live in a food-desert, I think by comparison I live in a food-rain-forest.

  • schoolhouse_gw

    I came back from town awhile ago and there were the back hoes and the other machinery tearing down our little Harvest Market grocery store to make way for the brand new Belle Stores. ugh.

  • dedtired

    Aw, Schoolhouse, how sad. What is a Belle store? I’d be glad for any kind of grocery store at all to replace the one closing near me.

  • schoolhouse_gw

    Bellestores (one word, I looked it up just now) is like a convenience store with gas pumps. We already have a Dollar General and a BP station plus a Drive-thru for beer and snacks. We would really like to have a small grocery store with fresh meats and produce.

  • dedtired

    Oh so it’s like a 7-11 . Here we have Wawa. Hardly the same as a grocery store. I am going to a Civic Association meeting to hear about what’s next for our Acme location.

  • kittymoonbeam

    Winco is employee owned. The prices are the same or lower than Wal-Mart. I would like to see these types of stores prosper. They care about their employees. People are usually helpful and cheerful there. It's a big store with a fresh bakery, deli and butcher counter. It's never a mess. It's open 24 hours.

    No it's not pretty with displays and has no Starbucks inside. It's a good well stocked market that treats people right. I live 15 minutes from an three very nice chain groceries, a trader joes, a Wal-Mart, a Sam's club and a Costco. I drive 30-45 minutes to Winco. I know Winco is doing right by the employee/ owners. You can save money without forcing people on public support. The Waltons have enough.

    Please take a look at the WinCo foods website to learn more.

  • Springroz

    Remember when the big WM push was “Made In America”? There was a shuttered lingerie factory in my MIL’s tiny hometown. They reopened to sew “Made In America” labels on imported lingerie. DH’s aunt worked there.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    "Winco is employee owned. "

    Great. I'd bet, as a result, also non-union and perhaps also paying below-union wage rates?

  • Raye Smith

    Winco is a grocery store, union comment is a non-sequitur.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    A non-union grocery store is one whose employees are not union members. Whose wages and benefits are not covered by a union contract with the employer and so, usually, lower than if represented by a union. What's not clear?

  • Raye Smith

    There's no such thing as a union grocery store anywhere I've lived and why would anyone want one? The states I've lived in are proud union-busters. They put employers/employees before lining fat-cats pockets.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    Oh my.. There's no need to be nasty when you don't understand the conversation.

    This chain has a number of stores in California and other Western states. Most grocery chains in California have union contracts. I won't further explain the reason for my comment because you've missed it completely.

    The world is bigger than "where you live" and obviously different too. Keep your eyes open to learn why and how.

  • Raye Smith

    Elmer - the discussion is about grocery stores closing. Unions have nothing to do with that and yes, it's unfortunate that a union would prey on and steal the salaries of grocery store employees.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    "There's no such thing as a union grocery store anywhere I've lived and why would anyone want one?"

    Are you sure?? Virtually all the national grocery chains are unionized..........and for very good reasons. Union members, on average get paid more in wages, get better health benefits, vacation, sick leave and retirement plan than non-union members. And union members have a contract with their employer that helps protects them from favoritism and unjust treatment on the job.

  • maddielee

    Raye, a little info for you.


    The UFCW currently operates in a number of major grocery chains throughout the United States, including Albertsons, Dierbergs, Kroger, Meijer, Rosauers, Schnucks, Safeway, Supervalu, Giant Food LLC, Giant Eagle, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, Tops Markets, A&P, Pathmark, Acme Markets, King Kullen, Waldbaums and Wakefern Food Corporation. The Union also operates in major food retail chains in Canada such as Loblaw Companies Limited, Metro, Overwaitea, and Sobeys-Safeway.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    If the store or chain is employee owned, who would a union be negotiating with on behalf of the employees? Who would the contract be with?

  • Lucille

    why would anyone want one?

    When I was working as a school nurse I was a member of the teachers union. They worked with me in some horrendous situations one in particular which was ending up harming the kids. I am pro union, and grateful for them.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " If the store or chain is employee owned, who would a union be negotiating with on behalf of the employees? "

    They'd negotiate with whomever at the company is responsible for union relations, just as with any other. Often but not always people in HR and Legal as a starting point and often ultimately with the involvement of top management.

    "Who would the contract be with?"

    The company, as employer.

    Most management level people in publicly traded companies have partial company ownership. It's not like a union contract or anything else in the normal course of business requires shareholder approval, much less involvement. Almost nothing does. Call it nothing, that's closest to the truth.

    I thought kittymoonbeam had overlooked a point with her comment and that's why I said what I did. Those of you who missed it, well, that's how it is sometimes.

  • sprtphntc7a

    i'm lucky!! we have Giant (2) Whole Foods (2), Acme(1) , Trader Joes (2), Target (2), Walmart (1) BJ's...all within a ten minute drive....plus specialty shops - butcher, italian, produce, dairy, convenience stores (Wawa)....1/2 hour drive, Costco (2), Wegman's.

    the convenience and selection is awesome. that is one thing i would miss if we ever moved.

    but when snow is in the forecast, shelves are cleared!!! which for the most part is silly b/c the roads are cleared in about a day for the most part. unless its a blizzard with over 3 feet, then all bets are off...

  • Lars

    Here aresome reasons not to shop at Walmart. For me, one of the main reasons is that they use child labor in foreign countries. In some smaller communities, Walmart will come in and sell products at a loss in the beginning, in order to force local competition into bankruptcy. Then when the local competition is gone, Walmart will raise its prices. I could never in good conscience walk into a Walmart, but since there are none close to me, that is not likely to happen anyway.

    I'm lucky that I can easily drive to Koreatown, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Little India, Little Tokyo, Little Ethiopia, etc to shop for ethnic foods. Some ethnic markets are like supermarkets, especially the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese ones. In addition to the ones I already mentioned, I also go to Greek, Italian, Spanish (Spain), Indonesian, and Middle Eastern markets. I am the opposite of a one-stop shopper. I can easily go to four or five different markets in one afternoon. In Venice, I lived a few houses down from a French market and deli, and I still shop there.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    Do better, Lars. This is the background of the author of that piece. There is real and not real information on the internet, it's not hard to tell which is which.

    " Chris Osterndorf is an entertainment reporter and movie critic based in Los Angeles. He holds a degree in cinema from Chicago’s DePaul University. "

  • Michael

    Walmart will come in and sell products at a loss in the beginning, in order to force local competition into bankruptcy.

    I've never witnessed that. Two miles down the road is a Walmart Super Center, a Kroger Marketplace, Target, Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market, Carafagna's Italian Grocery, Meijer and Giant Eagle. They've coexisted for over 7 years and not one is showing any sign of leaving.

  • Raye Smith

    Maddie, Nope don't have/shop at those stores and haven't heard of most of them. Maybe they're regional. I grew up in the deep south but no longer live in the south so I've lived in disparate regions of the country.

    I've always lived in right-to-work states and unions are viewed very negatively, basically "union" is a dirty word here.

  • Lucille

    Raye, you can think for yourself and not adopt local views?

  • Raye Smith

    Yes, I do think for myself and understand why unions are viewed so dimly. If you have a tough situation at work - make an appointment with the boss, explain and prove that your work has been exceptional and clarify the issue that you have a problem with, then suggest solutions. I've done it several times over the years and always received positive results.

    I've done contract work in a "union business" and seen first hand the employees that spent their days watching soap operas that couldn't be fired because of their union.

  • sprtphntc7a

    ^^ that last statement is such a stereotype! if that happened everywhere, all the time, nothing would done.

    unions get such a bad rap and why? because they protect the worker in so many ways??? are non-union workers jealous because of union benefits??

    let's be real, is there issues, of course. but to group ALL UNIONS/ALL UNION WORKERS as BAD, is ridiculous! stop listening to the rhetoric and really do some research and TALK to union employees.

    this subject needs its own thread, so i am stopping.

  • Raye Smith

    It's not a stereo type, I am a direct eye-witness to seeing that behavior. I also accessed said employees computer records and verified what shows they were streaming and the amount of time spent watching them. All this information was placed in the offending employees files but it was impossible to terminate their employment. I gave the plant manager the records and watch him put the info into the files. That's how I know & not guess, that's what seen first-hand means.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    Why, you're an expert on this topic because of the open minded region you come from where people are all taught to have the same opinions (by your own description) and from one work experience. Most impressive. Not.

  • l pinkmountain

    Anecdotes are not necessarily trends nor do they necessarily represent the aggregate of the data. Anecdotally, I never had a pro or con view of unions and I tended to view them negatively growing up. I'm old enough to have worked in quite a few union and non-union places. What I have observed is folks in union places work harder than non-union, as they are treated and act more professionally. But that's just my small life and data-set, no more true or relevant than anyone else's, otherwise known as having an official value of .02.

    And one need not need have a degree to be a smart or logical person. Plus, DePaul University is a fine institution, IMHO, and one does receive a liberal education in college, which should make one a good parser of information. He cites references better than some of my students. I'm not saying it's a good or bad defense of shopping habits and the ethics of Walmart, but neither is the defense that a cinema degree from DePaul University means your article isn't "good." If you check the usual suspect rating scores, DePaul is in the middle, but even that does not show the whole story, as there are many inherent biases in college rankings. I personally would prefer the musings of a hard working kid from the streets who worked his way through a mid range university with grit and determination over a "gentleman's C" student from Yale any day!

  • suero

    Please take the discussion of unions over to hot topics.

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