City Market to sponsor meeting tonight on closure at First and Orchard
The announcement that a business is about to close often engenders expressions of sorrow and a going-out-of-business sale — and little else in terms of response — before the doors shut.
City Market officials will go beyond that tonight when they take the unusual step of sponsoring a meeting and asking customers to let the company know how they will be affected by the impending closure of the store at 1909 N. First St.
“Our goal is to listen to the customers and understand what their needs are and what barriers to grocery stores they might have,” City Market spokeswoman Kelli McGannon said. “We want to understand what their specific needs are and how we might be able to assist them with that.”
City Market announced Jan. 31 that it will close the store March 24 because of poor sales. The 22,000-square-foot store has been operating since 1965, making it the oldest City Market in the Grand Valley.
The supermarket’s shuttering stands to effect, in particular, elderly residents in the neighborhood, many of whom appreciate walking only a block or two to shop for groceries and who can’t or are reluctant to drive elsewhere.
McGannon said City Market wants to know what shoppers’ needs are, acknowledging there may be ways that customers used the store that are unknown to officials.
For example, she said City Market has heard from administrators at West Middle School, which is directly across Orchard Avenue from the store, that they relied on the store for items they had difficulty obtaining otherwise because of a lack of transportation. She said City Market is looking into whether it might be able to deliver to the school.
“We have an obligation to that community that has supported us for so many years,” McGannon said.
She emphasized that the meeting is intended to be a forum for residents to express their concerns and needs as they relate to the closure, not to lobby for the store to remain open.
“Unfortunately, that decision (to close the store) has been made,” she said.