Saturday, July 24, 2010

and then there were five

Yesterday's announcement that the Sparkle grocery store on Gypsy Lane will close on July 31st eliminates another grocery store in the city.

In fact, the full-service market was the last remaining on the North Side.

With the abandonment of Giant Eagle from the city in 2008, there are only five remaining full-service grocery stores in Youngstown:

- West Side Sparkle Market (corner of Mahoning and Belle Vista)
- Cornersburg Sparkle Market (Meridian Avenue)
- South Side Save-A-Lot (South Avenue)
- Lincoln Knolls Save-A-Lot (McCartney Road)
- Lincoln Knolls IGA (McCartney Road)

In the press release regarding the closing, store owner Charles Zander claimed...
"Most significantly, the recent opening of a WalMart Super Center nearby created enormous pressure within the competitive environment of the Belmont business district. At the same time, the national trend by consumers to favor corporately owned grocery conglomerates has made it nearly impossible for independent grocers to compete in markets where quality and service are secondary to cut-rate product pricing."
While there may be additional reasons for closure, the economic realities of good, neutral, and bad money in terms of economic development need to be reinforced:
Economic development involves three types of money.

"Good money" comes from businesses that trade outside your region. They generate wealth. (Turning Technologies, other YBI companies, and numerous local exporters fall under this category)

"Neutral money" comes from businesses that circulate revenues within an economy. (You buy haircuts from me, and I buy ice cream from you.)

"Bad money" comes from business transactions that export wealth from an economy. Many people correctly think that Wal-Mart falls into this category.
I'm not going to use the rest of this space to continue beating up Wal-Mart, and the errors of Liberty Township officials to claim Wal-Mart development is true economic development.

But in the very near future, North Siders and other residents will be left with a choice:

Will you now shop at Giant Eagle and Wal-Mart, or will you spend your money at local supermarkets within our city?

The grocery stores are listed above.

The economic choice is yours.


Mike Prelee said...

And we continue to harm ourselves. By choosing wal-mart shoppers have helped close another grocery store. In Hubbard the UFCW cut Nemenz IGA's traffic which closed the store even though the city could clearly support two stores. As your post demonstrates, we need to support local businesses to thrive.

Deb Weaver said...

I would love to support local grocery stores, but I want them to be clean and offer the products that I want to purchase. Sparkle on the northside has become more and more dirty as the years have progressed. Their produce has continued to become less than appetizing, and they fail to offer enough organic products. Let me just say that if someone were to put in something like a Trader Joes in that location, they could make a fortune. I know I would certainly swear off of Giant Eagle. For that matter I imagine that a business such as I describe would draw people from the surrounding areas as well. I know that several times a year I go to Cleveland area to go to Trader Joes. I am not the only one.

Janko said...

If Trader Joe quality produce is a necessity for certain purchases (understandable) perhaps a half-solution is for Youngstown shoppers to buy their sundries and bulk goods at local stores.

It depends on the individual, and what percent of their purchases can be purchased in close proximity to their neighborhood.

For example, if you don't buy organic crackers, organic rice, and organic canned vegetables, then go buy the organic milk at Giant Eagle - but purchase the remaining things on your list from local vendors.

Anonymous said...

Remember the Good Food Co-Op on Pyatt Street? The store was in a bad neighborhood and was rather dumpy inside. Despite these problems, Co-Op members and the public continued to shop there for many years.

elecpenciljim said...

I highly recommend the locally owned IGA in my Vienna neighborhood. They have a good in store bakery and deli section. They also have a good wine and beer selection and nice meat department. The owners support local causes and earn local support.