June 27, 2007 If it's strange as a shopper to wander the semi-barren aisles at the Imlay City Farmer Jack store as it prepares to change hands, imagine what it's like for the employees.
Many of them have become familiar faces in the community, are on a first name basis with customers, swap stories of kids and grandkids, pass along tips on two-for-one specials and what's new or unique on the shelves. We've gotten to know them over the years, and enjoy the little chats and grins exchanged in the checkout lane.
Over the past couple of weeks, there have been some gentle cracks in their perennial smiles—their futures are uncertain. They are in jeopardy of losing their livelihoods, and have forged working relationships and friendships that are now shifting and changing under the threat of that loss.
For years the Farmer Jack store has served Imlay City and the surrounding area well. A variety of goods and a great location make it an easy stop for consumers. So it's no surprise that Kroger scooped up the busy venue—the last and only grocery store in Imlay City.
Shoppers have reason to breathe a sigh of relief. Not so for the store's loyal employees who must go through a re-application process with the new grocery chain.
Hopefully, Kroger will recognize the value of Farmer Jack's longtime employees who know the community and have served it well. Many of them live right here, are our neighbors and friends.
We look forward to the re-opening of Imlay City's only grocery store and are certain that it will be a success. We also hope it will be a new beginning for some familiar faces who've served us well over the years.