Needmore Kroger closing comes at ‘vulnerable time’ following tornadoes

A Kroger store in Harrison Twp. will close next month after decades as a grocery staple in the Northridge community.

The 1934 Needmore Road store, which has been open since June 1984, will shut its doors Nov. 14, said Erin Rolfes, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati Division of stores. Most of the inventory will be transferred to other stores, but there will be some sales within the last few days for the location.

“The store has been unprofitable for a while, and that was the reason we chose to close it,” Rolfes said.

The Dayton Daily News has heard concerns from area customers and employees that other Dayton-area stores may be closing. Rolfes said Kroger does not comment on rumors and speculations, but confirmed there are no immediate plans to close any other area locations.

“The township is certainly disappointed in the decision by Kroger to close this store. We understand this was a business decision. However, the Northridge community is recovering from the Memorial Day tornado and this comes at very vulnerable time for the community,” said Kris McClintick, Harrison Twp. administrator.

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One of the hardest hit areas during the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, an EF4 tornado ripped through the Northridge community leaving a major path of destruction. Less than two miles south of Kroger, dozens of buildings and homes were damaged, including a Grocery Lane store which remains closed.

The nearest open grocery store is a Save-A-Lot on Main Street about 2.5 miles away. There are also two Dixie Food Mart small convenience stores within a mile.

McClintick and the rest of the township’s leadership just learned of the closure this morning and “will be assessing the impact from a community and economic development perspective,” he told the Dayton Daily News.

Kroger owns the Needmore store but there was no information available about future plans for the real estate.

Keno Hampton has been shopping at the Needmore Road store for 20 years. She buys food for two St. Vincent de Paul rehab houses, she said.

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“I’m really hurt because I thought they were doing wonderful. The people are great. I just don’t understand why they’re doing this,” Hampton said.

Hampton said she won’t shop at the Siebenthaler Kroger, which is nearly four miles from the Needmore Road location. That will leave her traveling to Vandalia to buy groceries, she said.

“I’m very upset. Very, very upset. This is a good store. The people are wonderful here,” Hampton said.

The store has 108 employees who were notified of the closure Friday. All will be offered other positions within the Kroger stores, Rolfes said.

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Other customers, like David Wright, were disappointed in the news, but understood.

“Obviously I’m disappointed that they’re shutting the store,” Wright said. “It seems like it’s always busy. Customers in and out doesn’t always tell the balance sheet so I understand that. They have to do what they have to do.”

Wright said he supports Kroger and will continue shopping at either the Vandalia store, which is about seven miles from Needmore, or Siebenthaler.

The West Siebenthaler Avenue Kroger is currently undergoing significant renovation, which the Dayton Daily News first reported in July. That store will have a grand reopening Nov. 15, Rolfes said.

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The largest regional grocery provider confirmed earlier this month that it is laying off hundreds, including managers at its family of stores, which also includes Harris Teeter, Ralphs and Fred Meyer.

Dayton-area Kroger stores employ more than 8,000 of the companies 443,000 full-time and part-time workers.

“Store divisions operate independently but all of them are taking steps to ensure they have the right talent in the right store leadership positions,” a spokesperson said earlier this month. “Beyond that we generally do not comment on personnel matters related to the Kroger family of companies.”


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