Customers shopping Tuesday at IGA — the last central city grocer in town — were shocked and disappointed to learn the store will close by month’s end, although company officials did not return calls requesting confirmation on the issue.
“That’s what they said,” in the store, customer Myrtle Cavin said as she got into her car Tuesday morning after shopping.
“I just live over the hill,” and the closing will create a hardship for her, she said. At least Cavin has a vehicle which she uses to shop special sales at other grocery stores in town.
For customers like Pam Warren and Melinda Scott, who live nearby and walk to the store, the closing came as a shock and a sure future problem for them.
“It’s going to be hard on me ’cause I don’t have a car,” Warren said as she pushed a small cart with groceries down the sidewalk. “This is the closest one for me.”
Warren said she does have the ability to take city transit to get places, but doing that for her grocery trips will extend the chore.
“To go anywhere else we have access to the transit, but still you have to wait an hour for the bus to go through,” she said.
Scott said she’s heard IGA will merge with another low-cost grocer, but the North Roan Street location will be shuttered.
Messages left for officials at the IGA headquarters in Chicago and Houchens Industries, which apparently owns the IGA brand, were not returned Tuesday.
The local store manager said he was “not allowed to say anything about it.”
Scott and Warren, like most customers who talked with the Johnson City Press Tuesday, use IGA as their primary grocery store because of its prices and convenient location.
“I’ve always come here,” Scott said about the IGA. “It’s to hard to get to the Price Less,” located on South Roan Street near the Salvation Army store, she said.
“This is going to be hard for me because I walk with a cane,” she said. Walking to IGA is a short distance for Scott, but the added wait for a bus to go to a store further away will be more physically taxing.
Pamela Lewis does not live nearby, but shops at IGA while she waits on the bus to get home after her shift at McDonald’s on University Parkway.
She takes the bus to the store, shops and walks to the transit station. It cuts down her hour-long wait for her ride home, she said.
Brice Light and Kelley Cundy said they frequent IGA everyday to pick up small amounts of groceries they need.
“It’s going to cost more gas,” to travel to a store farther away, Light said. The couple just live a few blocks from IGA and Light works nearby so it’s very convenient for them, they said.
Light said he’s seen the store change hands from White’s to IGA and now will apparently see it go away altogether.
“People in Keystone will have to get a cab now,” to get groceries, he said.