South Albany community upset after Harveys Supermarket closes

Community reacts to recent Harveys store closing

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Southeastern Grocers announced this week, they will close another Harveys Supermarket in Albany and they said damages left behind from Hurricane Michael is partially to blame.

Some residents and leaders said they are extremely concerned.

“We need to keep this store right here, right now in Albany, Georgia on Gordon Avenue,” said Brenda Smith, resident.

The announcement of the store’s closure in South Albany has left residents and community leaders upset.

“Since I was a little boy, there has always been a grocery store,” said Yaz Johnson, community leader.

This store, where Pastor Johnson and many other residents once worked and shopped at for years, is now pitch black and the parking lot empty.

“This part of South Albany is a food dessert,” said Dougherty County District 5 Commissioner Gloria Gaines.

Gaines said the store has always been a place the community relies on to eat.

“A lot of people walk here. I would say you get more pedestrians in this store than any other store because its so integrated in this neighborhood,” said Gaines.

Suddenly that changed when representatives from Southeastern Grocers announced on Wednesday they will permanently close due to storm damage, cost, and other factors.

“It’s the pillar of this community. You have people that depend on this particular grocery store to take care of their everyday needs,” said Johnson.

During the interview, customers on foot and in cars were disturbed to find the store closed and said that the nearest grocery store open is roughly five miles away.

“People don’t have cars to go across town and shop. I see a lot of people pushing buggies and walking with bags,” said Smith.

Leaving residents in this community left to shop at corner stores, with few meal options, but Johnson said some of those are closed.

“You got a building over there dilapidated, you got two over there,” said Johnson.

Some of those are boarded up. Leaders said its not only an eye sore, but difficult for residents to survive.

“I just like to join Pastor Yaz Johnson in appealing first to Harveys in reconsidering their decision to close this store,” said Gaines.

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