March 21 • 05:54 AM

Kroger has eyes onFarmer Jack location

June 13, 2007
IMLAY CITY — Could a Kroger store be in Imlay City's future?

Nobody's saying for sure, but the Imlay City Farmer Jack will likely be one of those sold to Kroger by the end of the month.

The sale could be welcome news to many Imlay City shoppers and the more than 100 Farmer Jack employees at the M-53 location.

Austin Grubb helps his grandmother, Phyllis Koch of Capac, with her groceries during a shopping trip to the Imlay City Farmer Jack this week. Koch hopes the supermarket won’t be closed for long.
City Manager Amy Planck said she received a request last Tuesday from Kroger representatives seeking a permit to erect a sign at the site.

Planck interprets the request as an encouraging sign for the city, and for thousands of shoppers who regularly patronize the Imlay City supermarket.

"I'm optimistic because we've heard from them," says Planck. "There is a significant need here. The Farmer Jack has been serving more than just our population."

Planck adds that she received a letter on Thursday from the Greater Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, indicating the store will be closed from June 28 through July 7.

"That probably means the store will be closed for awhile to allow the new owners to make changes and get set up."

Managers from 66 Farmer Jack supermarkets met last Tuesday with A&P officials (Farmer Jack's parent company) to discuss the status of the stores.

Union officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 876, which represents about 4,800 Farmer Jack employees, had hoped another chain, such as Kroger, would purchase some of the stores. Employees in Imlay City have been instructed not to speak to the media, though some have expressed concern about their future employment prospects.

It is expected that Kroger will buy about 25 stores, with others being bid on by Grand Rapids-based Spartan Stores, Best Buy, Home Depot and some independent grocers.

Local 876 president Roger Robinson said no bids have been received as yet on about 20 of the Detroit-area stores. The remaining inventory from those stores will be sold and the doors padlocked, he said.

For now, Imlay City Farmer Jack shoppers are holding their breath, hoping the M-53 store won't be closed for a long period of time.

"If it closes for awhile it could be a problem for me," says Lisa DePauw, an Almont mother with a keen eye for sales and discount prices. "If it is purchased by Kroger, that would probably be comparable in prices. Depending on where I do my errands on a given day, I shop here or at the Almont Food Center."

Capac resident Phyllis Koch, 61, is more concerned that the new store has a pharmacy.

"The biggest thing that would affect me is whether I can get my heart prescriptions filled," said Koch. "Whoever comes in, I hope they have a pharmacy. This store is very convenient for me. It's just 10 minutes from my home."

The Greater Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. was founded in 1859, and is headquartered in Montvale, N.J. The corporation currently operates 406 stores, featuring its own brands: America's Choice, Master Choice, Health Pride and Savings Plus.

Staff Writer
Castle Creek
03 - 21 - 19
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