Residents upset about plans to close 2 Kroger stores


Kroger is closing its stores on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and New Bern Avenue because both reportedly have not been making enough money.

Neighbors shared their concerns over what'll happen next. About 150 angry Kroger customers filled Martin Street Baptist Church Monday evening to sound off.

"Kroger offered a commitment to the community and to me this is not a commitment," said Shirley Snelling. "This is like a slap in the face."

Kroger is closing the two stores by mid-January. The grocery giant blamed diminishing financial returns. For this community, which fought for years for a grocery store, it felt like a punch in the gut.

The federal government already designates Southeast Raleigh as a food desert, which means residents have limited access to fresh food and groceries. Kroger's decision doesn't help.

"Kroger's not hurting anybody's feelings. They're not down here saying 'We're not talking to you. We're going to turn our backs on you," said developer Craig Ralph.

Ralph, who leases the MLK property, insists Kroger is actually helping in the process of finding a new tenant. He hopes to have a new grocery store at the MLK Boulevard location by summer.

"Getting another grocery store won't nearly as tough as trying to convince these people that Kroger doesn't hate them," said Ralph.

New prospects for the New Bern Avenue location don't look as good right now.

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