Friday, January 13, 2012

Keystone residents in Johnson City dismayed by impending closure of Food Lion


NET News Service

Photo by Ron Campbell

Keystone area resident Delores Delaney talks about the impact that the closing of the Food Lion on East Main Street in Johnson City will have on her and her family. She will no longer be able to walk to the grocery store. Food Lion is the building on the right in the photo.

JOHNSON CITY — Keystone community resident Barbara Andes was wondering Thursday where she was going to get groceries when the nearby Food Lion closes down next month.
“I go there all the time,” Andes said. “It’s the only place around here, so that’s where we go all the time.”
Food Lion’s parent company, Delhaize America, based in Salisbury, N.C., plans to close 113 underperforming Food Lion stores, including the one at 1420 E. Main St. in Johnson City, the company announced Wednesday. This store will be closed in the next 30 days, the company said.
Andes has lived for about nine years in Keystone, a government housing complex in east Johnson City adjacent to the Food Lion. She said her family depends on Food Lion for groceries.
She had hoped the store would remain open because she has no car to conveniently go to another large grocer.
“I don’t want it to (close) because then me and my kids would be without food,” Andes said. “We don’t have no transportation to go get groceries. I don’t know what we’re going to do if we lose Food Lion.”
There are several discount stores near Keystone that sell food, and there is a gas station within walking distance. But Keystone resident Elizabeth Greer, who has nine people in her household, said those options are not sufficient because she makes one big grocery trip each month to Food Lion for everyone in her home.
“When you have to buy groceries enough for nine people, it’s going to be hard and stuff to buy that much groceries from one month to the next,” said Greer, who also has no car.
Food Lion still operates a store in Johnson City at 1320 Bristol Highway, but that is not within walking distance of Keystone. The nearest large grocery stores to Keystone would be two Hometown IGAs on North and South Roan streets and a Food City on South Roan.
Delores Delaney has lived in the Keystone community for about 17 years. She said there has always been a grocery store at the Food Lion location.
She said the loss of a convenient large grocery option within walking distance was a shock to many in the Keystone community.
“It’s going to hurt a lot of them because a lot of people around our community, they don’t have cars, and they have to walk to the store or grab a buggy and bring a buggy back with food, which is kind of inconvenient if they’re closing,” Delaney said.
Delaney goes to the store several times a week herself, she said. That loss of a grocer within walking distance will hurt, she added.
“It’s going to be a bind now because we’re probably going to have to get on the bus to go to Food City or (Hometown) IGA instead of going to Bristol Highway to the other Food Lion, which is a long distance from here,” said Delaney.
Greer agreed that it would be hard to go to another store for groceries without a car, especially carrying back a large load of groceries.
“It’d be hard to get there and back,” Greer said. “You’d have to either take transit or get food and come back in a cab.”
Other local Food Lion stores that will be closing are the Greeneville store at 2325 E. Andrew Johnson Highway and the Bristol, Va., store at 2012 Lee Highway.
For more information about the closings visit Food Lion’s Web site at

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