CINCINNATI — Mt. Airy residents won’t be able to shop at the Kroger on Colerain Avenue after March 4.
The store, according to Kroger, is closing because it wasn't profitable. Now, neighbors are planning to picket outside the store, claiming the choice to close discriminates against lower-income shoppers.
Social justice advocate Kelli Prather said it’s not hard to compare what happens in different neighborhoods.
“Camp Washington Kroger closed, Bond Hill Kroger closed, College Hill Kroger closed,” Prather said. “This continues to be an egregious attack on low- to moderate-income communities.”
The plan to close the Colerain Avenue location is a part of what Kroger calls the “Restock Kroger” plan.
"The company will utilize more of its capital to fund technology and infrastructure upgrades to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience by accelerating digital growth in the region," Kroger said in a statement.
“When I see this, I think this is for the wealthy. This is for the wealthy,” Prather said.
Community members plan to start picketing the location at 6401 Colerain Ave. on Feb. 15. Prather is teaming up with Houston Andrews, who has lived in Mt. Airy for over a decade.
“These people are not going to be able to get fresh food, fresh produce ... when I was growing up, Kroger meant kosher, and kosher meant good. And the things Kroger is doing now is not kosher,” Andrews said.
There is another Kroger 2 miles away in Monfort Heights, but not everyone has the means to get there, Mt. Airy Town Council President Gladys Pope said.
“The difference between that Kroger and this Kroger is that this one is on a bus line,” Pope said.
While Pope believes the decision to close the store is logistically difficult for neighbors, she said it’s also a matter of personal connection to the store.
“It’s kind of the feeling of something that we’ve always had here, or we’ve had for awhile, closing down and disappearing,” Pope said.
Kroger rents the property in Mt. Airy. After they vacate, the landlord will determine how it will be used going forward.
Pope said she is meeting with Kroger representatives on Tuesday.
All 103 employees of the Colerain Avenue store will be given the opportunity to transfer to other locations, according to a Kroger spokesperson.