CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A grocery store chain closing its doors has many fighting to keep them open. Kroger is closing in Decatur and Lincoln because of low sales.
They’ll officially be closed by the end of the month. Tuesday, customers rallied together to support the business. Many are holding signs with messages of “Save our store,” and “Millikin loves Fairview Kroger.”
The group says, if they come together collectively, maybe they could make a difference. Their goal is to let corporate know the neighborhood appreciates the store and wants to make sure all effort has gone into keeping it from closing.
It’s been a significant location for students and low-income families in the area since 1958. On social media, people call the area a food desert without it.
The next closest stores are County Market and Save-A-Lot; both about a five minute drive from the university, longer if you’re walking.
“We always shopped on Thursdays and we just got in the car and turned on the radio and they had announced that Martin Luther King had been assassinated and that was April 4, 1968 so 50 years,” says 50 year shopper, Mary Richardson.
Richardson and her daughter say there’s a reason for the store’s success in their neighborhood.
“Always fresh meat, if they don’t have what you need, they’ll package it for you,” states Richardson.
She and others say it’s the convenience that make it worth the trip.
“It’s convenient even on the interstate for people. you see campers out here or going boating and it’s so convenient for them to stop in, get their ice, whatever get their gas. It’s a one stop shop,” says Rally Co-Organizer Rochelle Bolinem.
“It’s just a hop skip and a jump to get here and it’s just a good grocery store,” shopper, Katie Gross.
When Kroger announced it was closing the Fairview location, Gross made a call to see just how much she’s invested in the company over the years.
“Since we got our Kroger Plus card in 1999 we have shopped at Kroger 2,518 times and spent over $85,000,” states Gross.
Now she and other’s are thinking about shopping elsewhere because she believes there’s a bigger picture when it comes to the community.
“You need a neighborhood grocery when you take a grocery away from a neighborhood you create food scarcity in an urban setting and it’s not good for the people who live around here,” says Rally Co-organizer, Abi McIntosh.
Co-Organizer, “Unfortunately they say bad things about the west end but when you walk in this store. It can totally turn your whole outlook on the west end because they are so awesome in the store,” says Bolinem.
Aside from this Kroger in Decatur, Lincoln will also close its store. Two Kroger stores in Peoria were closed at the end of January.