Residents upset after city's only grocery store closes its doors

FORT DEPOSIT, AL (WSFA) - Jerry Dean Johnson liked having a neighborhood grocery store right up the street.

"It was real convenient at the time because we could walk to the store."

Even though she doesn't have a car, it didn't matter.

"Me and my kids get together, we'd walk to the store, hitch hike, catch a way.  Rain, storm whatever. We had to eat so that's what we did."

But now Fort Deposit's Associated Grocers store is closed.  And Johnson is left with one option.

"Come up with $20-30 dollars just to pay somebody to go to Hayneville."

"About two weeks after I first got down here I knew they were going to close," says Assistant Manager, Adam Dollar.

He and the store's owner say after nearly two years of trying to make the numbers work, they weren't making any money.

The store used to be a Food Giant.  They threatened to close a couple years ago against residents wishes, and that's why the current owners bought it--hoping the community would rally around it.  But, they say it didn't happen.

"Only doing like $4,000 dollars a day...that isn't going to cut it," adds Dollar.

Fort Deposit city council members say concerns were brought up about the store's closing at a recent meeting. They say that's why they're doing everything they can now to get another grocery store company to locate there.

"Not just go down, I want it to build."

Lifetime Fort Deposit resident James Johnson fears the store's closing is a sign of the city's ultimate demise--as more and more businesses abandon the town of roughly 1,300 residents.

"I don't know what's going to happen," adds Johnson.

Owners say there is a possibility they could sell the store.

But until then, the shelves sit empty as residents hold out hope they'll be filled again one day.

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