Eastgate City Market to close

Leona Hetzell, a longtime customer of the Eastgate City Market on North Avenue in Grand Junction, loads groceries Thursday into the trunk of her car in the store’s parking lot. The majority of the store’s 71 associates will transfer to a new City Market being built at 24 and Patterson roads.

The Eastgate City Market, where sales took a hit with the recession and the expansion of the nearby Wal-Mart Supercenter, will close next month.

The 57,000-square-foot store at 2830 North Ave. will shutter Dec. 11, and the majority of the store’s 71 associates will transfer to the new 58,000-square-foot store at 24 and Patterson roads that will open Dec. 15, City Market spokeswoman Rhonda Remy said. Another 30 to 40 associates will be hired.

Remy said a few Eastgate store managers will transfer to other existing locations. City Market spokeswoman Kelli McGannon said the store’s closure will not result in any job losses.

“The store is underperforming and not meeting sales goals,” Remy said in explaining the reason for the store’s closure.

Kroger Co., City Market’s Cincinnati-based parent company, considered closing the store four years ago but reversed course after upset customers objected.

Several customers expressed disappointment Thursday upon learning about the store’s closure.

“That would really stink,” said 28-year-old Brandy White as she loaded her 4-year-old daughter, Jasmine, and a cart full of groceries into her car.

White said she has shopped at the Eastgate location her entire life, noting she used to come to the store with her grandmother. Aside from living a block away, she ticked off a number of reasons why she shops there.

“It’s not busy. They have reasonable prices. Friendly staff,” she said.

With the closure, White said she probably will shop at Safeway at 29 and Patterson roads.

The shuttering of City Market, coupled with the soon-to-close StarTek call center, leaves two gaping commercial holes in the Eastgate Shopping Center. That could have a ripple effect on the businesses that remain in the strip mall and rely on the walk-in traffic generated by the supermarket.

“I think that’s obviously going to have some impact on them,” said Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. “They will have to find creative ways to keep people coming in the door when they don’t have a huge anchor at their disposal.”

Caisha King, a stylist at Hair We Are, said the absence of City Market will affect the next-door hair salon and its seven stylists “big-time,” particularly those who are new and trying to build a client base.

“A lot of our business, especially for the new gals, is walk-in clientele, and City Market has given us a lot of that,” King said.

Champion Rent-To-Own owner Troy Ritter said he’s not sure yet whether he’ll see a drop in his business, which has operated in Eastgate for nearly 14 years. He did say he hopes another business fills it soon.

“That’s a big anchor in there,” he said.

Ritter said he shops at the store every day and indicated he thought it had “been as busy as ever.”

But an employee of another business said he wasn’t surprised by the closure, saying the store has lost a lot of customers in recent years.

While noting the possible negative impact on neighboring businesses, Schwenke pointed out the empty space could present an opportunity for another business. She noted how the local economy benefited from Cabela’s filling the former Mervyn’s space at Mesa Mall.

The Eastgate City Market location opened in 1974, making it the second-oldest City Market store in the Grand Valley. The store at 1909 N. First St. opened in 1968, Remy said.


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