MORRILTON, Ark. – For years, the Morrilton Kroger has served the neighbors of Conway County and beyond, offering fresh produce at a fair price for residents willing to travel.
But now, people will have just weeks left to fill up their baskets; the popular store will close for good July 17, a move that has caused outrage in the community.
The closure leaves the area with decreased options on where to stock up on goods. But for many, this local grocery store isn’t just a place for food, but a place where the employees are more like family.
Tammy West has shopped at Kroger for most of her life. She lives in neighboring Perry County, and like many others, makes the half-hour trek twice a week to fill up on food. She said she chooses this particular grocery store because of its fair prices, quality produce and meats, and the friendly attitude of employees.
“I was in the hospital,” West remembered, “and the people at Kroger sent me cards! It’s a loss for all the counties around.”
Morrilton shoppers now have limited options to grab their groceries, with a Harps on the other side of town, and the alternative a Walmart across the street – an option many refuse to take.
“Since Walmart went to self-checkout, we always go here,” local Joyce Macias said. “People feel like that self-checkout is putting people out of jobs.”
The space Kroger is in has already been sold, but no news on if the new business will be a grocery store. Morrilton resident Ti King mentioned that Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer has addressed the closure, saying “bigger and better” things were on the way while also advocating for hometown business.
“The mayor said shop local,” King said, “but there’s nowhere to shop that’s local besides Walmart. We don’t have a lot of local shops that sell clean produce.”
While the community says it’s goodbye to the long-standing store, many are weighing their options and are planning on shopping outside of town starting in July. And Morrilton isn’t the only rural Kroger to close its doors; Searcy had one close just last month, and England, Arkansas will lose its Kroger in July – the only major grocery store in town.