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Many afraid fresh food will be harder to find after two Kroger locations close

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Getting fresh food is about to become even more difficult for some Memphis residents.

Kroger is closing its Orange Mound location on Lamar and a store in South Memphis on South Third.

"Takes about 10-15 minutes to get there," said shopper Larry Wiseman.

He just found out the closest grocery store to his house is closing," he said.

Wiseman said he'll now have to add another 20 minutes roundtrip to get to the next closest grocery store down the road or a two-hour walk to get to the nearest Kroger.

Related: Kroger closing two locations in Memphis

Kroger representatives told WREG they have to close a store in Clarksdale Mississippi, Orange Mound and in South Memphis, because they're losing millions trying to stay open.

"People who don't own automobiles, which is 50 percent of this neighborhood, now have even less access to fresh food," said Roshun Austin with The Works, Inc.

It's a non-profit trying to restore and revive South Memphis, where many have to travel more than a mile for fresh and healthy food.

Austin has helped open the South Memphis Farmers Market on Mississippi Boulevard, where they work with local farmers and even deliver groceries if need be.

She's working on more innovative ways to help people get their next meal.

"It's not hopeless. I never give up hope," she said.

EDGE C.E.O. Reid Dulberger said there will be challenges in those areas, which is why tax incentives are available to those wanting to move into distressed areas. There are qualifications you have to meet, but he said it could help lure grocery stores to Orange Mound and South Memphis.

"Inner-city economic development is hard. It always has been. It probably always will be," he said. "The supply is about to go down, but the demand has not changed. We're likely to see someone come forward."

Mayor Jim Strickland also told WREG he's disappointed about the Kroger stores closing. He assured WREG another store will move in or near those areas.

He couldn't tell us when, but said it is a top priority.