ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Save A Lot said it will close one of its grocery stores that, more than a decade ago, had been celebrated as the first to open in one north county municipality in decades.
The store, located on the southwest corner of Page and Ferguson avenues at 6840 Page Ave., will close Nov. 6, the Earth City-based grocery chain said.
"We take the decision to close any Save A Lot location very seriously," a Save A Lot spokesperson said. "We regularly review our stores on a number of factors, including financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans."
The spokesperson added that the company is "grateful to our customers for their loyal support in this location."
"All employees from this store have been notified and are being offered positions in other local stores," the spokesperson said. "We look forward to continuing to serve customers from our other nearby locations, including our stores at Union and Page and St. Charles Rock Road."
Nonprofit Beyond Housing in 2009 assembled a $6 million deal to build the store, with Pagedale's mayor at the time, Mary Carter, saying her municipality had never had a grocery store during her 44 years living there. Beyond Housing raised money from unidentified sources for the deal, and worked with Pagedale officials during 2007 to set up a tax increment financing district that includes the Save A Lot site. The project, which was built by BSI Constructors, opened in 2010, and also received $1.8 million in New Markets Tax Credits through U.S. Bancorp’s Community Development Corp.
Pagedale Mayor Ernest Shields says this is devastating news.
"We don’t need anything closing down, we need everything opening up. It leaves us now scrambling. We’re not going to give up," he tells 5 On Your Side.
Shields explains the closest grocery store, which is out of city limits, would be about three miles away in University City.
Beyond Housing CEO Chris Krehmeyer adds, quick and easy access is a must and it's important to close the gap on food deserts.
"It's providing healthy food and affordable food. We know in our community there are disparities in health outcomes. Some of that has to do with diet and healthy food," he says.
Krehmeyer says the nonprofit has built up the area around the discount store, planting a movie theatre, a food hall, and a health facility.
The organization also rehabbed about 1,200 homes.
"The visual change tells people that something good is happening here and hope for the future. We can only progress so far if we keep leaving so many behind. We need to invest in places like this, places who haven’t been invested in many many years," Krehmeyer emphasizes.
While one door closes, he believes another will open.
"You see a lot of life and activity, so we are confident we can reoccupy the store," Krehmeyer says optimistically.
Krehmeyer notes the Save A Lot originally came to life after hearing input from the community. They voiced wanting a grocery store.
The organization will continue to listen to community members for this next go around.
Shields adds, "I say to the citizens of Pagedale, bear with us, we won’t leave that empty long."
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