MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for a boycott of Kroger supermarkets after the company recently closed two locations in majority-black areas in Memphis.
“If Kroger gonna leave us, we’re gonna leave Kroger. It’s boycott time,” Jackson said on Monday’s Live at 9 program on WREG.
Jackson, who appeared on the show with CME church Bishop Henry Williamson and Joseph Kyles, said the closure would create a food desert in high-poverty neighborhoods.
The Kroger on Lamar in the Orange Mound neighborhood also contained a pharmacy and Tri-State Bank location.
“The Orange Mound community, a historic black community full of pride, but if you pull out and we can’t even talk or negotiate — we could make it win-win for everyone, but Kroger refuses to talk to the community,” Williamson said.
Kroger announced in February it would close its store on Lamar and another on South Third, citing millions of dollars in losses over the past several years.
Residents in those communities have said the loss of the stores would cause people who often don’t have access to cars to have to walk or ride buses farther to other supermarket locations.
Memphis City Council has approved a study to attract other grocery retailers into those areas.