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Customers push corporate to save Kroger

LEADINGTON – It might not be an all-out campaign, but there is an informal movement to let the corporate headquarters of Kroger know that many people here wish the store would not close.

Mark Easter of Farmington is among them. He and a few of his friends have placed calls to try to reach corporate and let them know of their concern.

“People need to call or write them and let them know,” he said. “They are taking the comments and passing them along.”

Easter said he hated to see “30 jobs go down the drain.”

“It could still make it here,” he said.

He believes they would do better in a different location, and said he hoped company officials would consider his suggestions.

Kroger’s corporate headquarters are in Indianapolis. The company’s officials announced recently that they would be closing their store in the St. Francois Plaza. Its last day will be June 5.

The store has been at that location since 1977 and was one of a handful of stores that survived a wave of closings in Illinois and Missouri several years ago. It is the last remaining Kroger in the area, but not the only one in the state.

There are six left in the state. The other five are in Hannibal, Warrenton, Rolla, Louisiana and Troy.

Thirty people were employed at the local grocery store. Company officials said they would be offered severance packages based on length of service. They are also to be paid for unused vacation, health and welfare benefits and holiday pay.

Officials also said they would help with relocation of employees, if they are willing.

In an interview a day after the closing was announced Mayor Larry Kennon indicated another store is going in the space where Kroger is. “It’s just a matter of time until another food supplier goes into the space Kroger is in,” he said .

Sales tax revenues will take a hit, the mayor acknowledged, but he said it would not put the city in a big bind. Some budget adjustments will likely be made, but it will not result in any layoffs, the mayor said.

“This is one of those things where we were kind of expecting it,” Kennon said. “This has been talked about for years. We hate to lose Kroger, but the city of Leadington will be just fine.”

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