Lady butcher cuts the final slices of cheese at Giant Eagle located in Buckeye Plaza.(Kenneth D. Miller/Photo)
Four days to it’s closing, Giant Eagle sat empty and isolated on this cold snow capped day on Buckeye Ave. in Cleveland as a just a had full of customers shopped in the store for the final time.
A 30 percent discount was not nearly enough to attract customers from this African American community, which was losing a vital resource, a mainstay and economic pillar.
In fact it had appeared that Giant Eagle had already closed, all that remained was some limited meats in the deli, frozen box pizza, a few gallons of milk, bottles of wine, washing supplies, toilet paper, box cereal and can soups.
Shopping baskets were in short supply and on this day the customers outnumbered the employees.
A 34-year old woman LaTonya had been shopping at the store for several years and told the Call & Post that she was disappointed in the store closing.
“It’s sad, but it is what it is.”
She said that she if she could speak to the owners of Giant Eagle she will tell them, “They shouldn’t do it”
“Some people walk to this store so its very convenient and if you don’t have a care then it’s very inconvenient. That’s a lot of people.”
Another elderly woman who refused to provide her name said that she has other shopping alternatives.
“I hate to see them go because I come up here to shop a lot, but it was their decision. I kind of hate it because I come here to get my medicine and I come here and buy certain things. I hate that they are leaving. I go to a lot of different stores anyway, but I will continue to shop at Giant eagle if I need to.”
Another lady, Misty purchased two gallons of milk and was accompanied by her six-year old daughter.
“Its crazy they should keep it (open). It’s closer for a lot of people that live around this area. It’s the only grocery store that’s available right now. There’s no other grocery store for them to shop. It’s kind of messed up, but I will continue to shop at Giant Eagle.”
Misty’s husband told the newspaper by phone that he’s not so sure that he will continue to patronize the grocery chain.
He frequented Giant Eagle to purchase his money orders to pay his bills, but now says that he may not be so loyal to them any more.
Others customers voiced their dismay without being interviewed.
“Thirty percent, aint no discount! They’ve been overcharging us for years anyway.”
The supermarket located at 11501 Buckeye Road and the nearby GetGo at 2780 E 116th Street will close on Saturday, February 4.
Giant Eagle called the decision to close the stores a "difficult but necessary" one.
“We thank our customers for their years of patronage at these locations, and invite them to visit us at our other Cleveland supermarkets including our West 117th Street and Edgecliff Avenue Giant Eagle stores," Giant Eagle spokesperson Dan Donovan said in a press release. “Northeast Ohio, and Cleveland specifically, are important communities for Giant Eagle, and we remain committed to supporting customers throughout the region for years to come.”
The company said it is identifying positions in other area locations for as many of the affected 120 team members as possible.
Giant Eagle will also be closing a few stores in the Columbus area and another in Lorain.