Civil rights, church leaders concerned Kroger closings will create food deserts in communities

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Civil rights and church leaders are concerned people in the inner city won’t have fresh food after Kroger closes its Southgate and Orange Mound locations.

The grocery giant says it’s losing millions of dollars by staying open, but critics aren’t buying it.

“We’re asking Kroger corporate and officials to look at another avenue,” an Southern Christian Leadership Conference Memphis Branch President Rev. Walter Womack.

He and other members of the SCLC pleaded to Kroger Tuesday to reconsider closing two stores on South Third and on Lamar and Airways, where many live in poverty and don’t have transportation.

“It also creates hardship on the citizens in surrounding areas, especially our elderly,” he said.

Kroger Announcement

Kroger representatives told WREG it’s a difficult business decision, and claimed profits keep dropping at those locations.

Despite their best efforts, they said they lost nearly $5 million at the stores since 2014.

But SCLC members aren’t convinced. They say both locations always look busy.

Related: Kroger closing two stores 

They also pointed out they haven’t seen Kroger remodel or update the stores since they opened decades ago, unlike other Kroger’s in Midtown and East Memphis that received multi-million dollar face lifts.

“We’re asking Kroger corporate and city officials to look at another avenue,” the member said.

They want some kind of option or plan. Anything that would keep fresh food in the inner city.

We brought SCLC’s concerns to Kroger. They sent us the follow press release they sent us last week.


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