The Save-A-Lot in Shelby Park has closed after 10 years in the neighborhood and locals say its closure is a big loss for the community.
Michelle Acres said she’d been managing the grocery store for a month when supervisors told her it was closing because the parent company, Buehler Inc., filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Acres said the store had plenty of customers but she believes management costs and low inventories there contributed to its closure.
“I cried like a baby. And mostly I thought about my staff. Not just me, but I thought about where they’re going to go,” Acres said. “A lot of [customers] cried, said they didn’t know what to do. They don’t know where they’re going to shop at.”
Save-A-Lot was one of the few grocery stores in the area. There is a Kroger at Goss Avenue and Poplar Level Road, but it’s a mile away and that distance is harder on customers who walk or bike.
Tevin Thomas said it seems like resources are being taken from poorer parts of town.
“It’s really just to hurt us,” Thomas said. “We can barely get to that store, so what makes you think we can travel even further to get to the next one?”
For former employee Jeffrey Knoerr, the Shelby Park Save-A-Lot was a staple. Knoerr said the store hired him as he recovered from drug abuse, helping him to rebound. He said the store promoted healthy eating and helped customers on government assistance figure out how to make their dollars stretch.
“I don’t see the area coming back from this,” Knoerr said. “I mean, where are they going to go shop? Where are they going to get food from in this general area? They’ll have to go all the way down off of Broadway to get something to eat now. And lord knows you can’t survive on eating out.”
It’s a loss for Knoerr, but Shelby Park resident Danielle Truett is more optimistic. Truett said she hopes something nice will take the place of the Save-A-Lot.
“It would be kind of cool if they put an Aldi’s right there. That’d be really nice,” Truett said. “This is an up and coming area. They’re putting in a lot of good, quality things.”
There will be another grocery store in the area in the near future. The Logan Street Market, a planned year-round food market, is set to open sometime in 2019.
Until then, Store Manager Acres said her last day at the Shelby Park Save-A-Lot will be spent cleaning it out with her co-workers. Acres plans to transfer stores. Her co-workers, she said, were given the option to draw unemployment benefits.