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August 12, 2020

6/17/2020 1:11:00 PM
Closing limits grocery options
The local Save-A-Lot store is preparing to close this Saturday, resulting in fewer choices for local shoppers.
+ click to enlarge
The local Save-A-Lot store is preparing to close this Saturday, resulting in fewer choices for local shoppers.
The sign on North State Street says it all.
+ click to enlarge
The sign on North State Street says it all.
Kylan Higgs

The North Vernon Save-A-Lot located at1357 N State Street will shut its doors Saturday, June 20, leaving just two grocery stores here in Jennings - Jay C and Walmart.

Inaddition to the local store, the Save-A-Lot store in Lafayette and New Albany are also seeing, with New Albany slated to close the same day as Jennings'.

"We take the decision to close any Save-A-Lot location very seriously," said Sarah Griffin, company director of communications. "We review very regularly our stores on a number of factors including financial performance as well as strategic alignment with our long term plan."

Unfortunately, the North Vernon and New Albany store closings are based on this review and is not related to COVID-19, Griffin said, even though the pandemic has affected many businesses across Indiana and the U.S.

There is no further word from corporate or local intel as to why the North Vernon location is shutting down, but its convenient proximity to Senior Housing will be sorely missed by the elderly residents.

"I really hate it," Senior Housing Director Frances Gwen said of the closing. "We have so many people here who don't drive and that's how they get their groceries."

A possible factor could be tied to the agreement Save-A-Lot had made with the majority of its lenders in January to help reduce more than $400 million in debt, including new capital of $138 million, which was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to Bloomberg, another online news source, Save-A-Lot had more than $820 million of outstanding net debt back in August.

After June 20, North Vernon will only have two major grocery stores, from an all-time high of four.

One customer shopping on Friday June 12 was from Commiskey and said she usually does her regular shopping at Aldi's in Seymour. She decided to go to the store to check out any closeout deals.

Another customer, also a former Save-A-Lot employee, said she shopped at the store for its low prices and for certain brands she can't get anywhere else. The customer has always done her shopping at the store and isn't sure what she is going to do come next week. "I'm not sure why it's closing," she admitted, "There were no red flags when I worked here."

Manager Mark Lenz said he was unable to give any details of the store's closing to the media. His future plans are on hold, he said, as "Save-A-Lot is my number one priority and always has been. I want to finish strong and worry about the store and the staff before I worry about myself."

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