Major grocery store chain with 150 outlets confirms permanent closure of store’s doors

SHOPPERS are worried about going hungry after the abrupt closure of a major grocery store chain has left them in a food desert.

Residents of Chattanooga, Tennessee, still reeling from the loss of their local Walgreens earlier this year have now spoken out about the loss of a Food City store.

The grocery store has been serving locals for decades but was officially closed for business on Monday evening.

While closures of stores can be frustrating for some, for others it can leave them feeling stranded.

A new Food City store is opening in downtown Chattanooga on June 12.

However, for regulars of the shuttered location, this is a 10-minute drive away.
This poses a challenge for those without a vehicle or with disabilities and other logistical or economic setbacks.

“I don’t feel too good about it,” resident Jesse Mills told Local 3 News.

Mills has been a customer of the store for over two decades.

“I am a disabled veteran myself, and it makes it hard for myself and others, especially for the elders like me to get around and to purchase our needs,” he said.
Similar comments have been made on Facebook after some locals accused others of being dismissive of people’s struggles.

It comes as some argued that the closure is not an issue with a new store opening two miles away.
“A 2-mile walk is a lot for an older person, a disabled person, or someone with children,” one resident wrote.

“I have found myself depending on groceries at that very store.

“I can’t imagine how many are going to go hungry now.”
“Walk 2 miles in the shoes of the people this affects and then make your comment,” another said.

“It really amazes me how unempathetic we have become as a society.”

“Not everyone in that area has transportation and some are older people. Hopefully, they can find a way to the new location,” a third wrote.
Jeannine Carpenter from the Chattanooga Area Food Bank revealed that the latest closure means the area is in even more trouble than it was before in terms of being a food desert.

“It’s in a high-density, relatively low-income area of the city. You have people who are living on fixed incomes, who more often than not, depend on shared transportation or public transportation. So, it was an easy-to-access location,” she told the news outlet.

Carpenter claimed that a bus ride from the old location to the new one could take around half an hour while walking it could be almost one hour.

In addition to this, she argued that the more money they have to spend on transport, the less there is to purchase food and other essentials which puts more pressure on food banks.

“Anytime there is a change in the food system and what people can access, if it creates more barriers, we see more people that need help,” Carpenter noted.

The 53,300 square-foot Food City store is scheduled to open tomorrow and will have a Starbucks and a pharmacy as well as one of the chain’s largest seating areas.
Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has welcomed the new store calling it “another big step forward in the revitalization of South Chattanooga.”

The U.S. Sun has reached out to Food City for comment.

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