A DISCOUNT grocery chain has closed its last remaining branch in a city, leaving residents in what it calls a food desert.
Shoppers noticed that the shelves were getting emptier before the closed sign was finally put up.
Save a Lot in Petersburg, Virginia, has closed permanently, news channel WRIC reported earlier this week.
For some residents without their own means of transport, the food discounter was the last shop nearby.
Petersburg has now been declared a food desert by the USDA, meaning a significant portion of residents within a half-mile radius have no grocery stores.
Sharon Sculthorpe is a disabled veteran and former Save A Lot customer.
She told WRIC: “The shelves kept getting emptier.”
The store was known for its low prices, providing a convenient and affordable option for nearby low-income households.
“It was a real shame because there are so many people in this city who are living off a steady income,” Sharon said of the closure.
There are now only two grocery chains in Petersburg: Good Lion and Walmart.
Across the country, the closure of grocery chains is creating food deserts that generally affect low-income people the hardest.
In Rensselaer, New York, the decision to move the local Aldi across Interstate 90 has created problems for shoppers without their own transportation.
The small town directly across from Albany on the Hudson River is now devoid of large grocery stores.
The Rennselaer County Legislature issued an order in June urging Aldi not to close its local store, claiming the closure could “create a virtual food desert for those who rely on the convenient location.”
Meanwhile, Walmart has also been accused of creating a food desert after it closed a Neighborhood Market store in Richmond, Virginia last month.
Although the nearest Walmart is only two miles away, there are concerns that the closure will leave some residents without grocery options.
“I think it’s just going to be unfortunate for some people because this area is kind of a food desert,” client DeWayne Jeter told NBC 12.
“This will be one less place and that would be unfortunate as they have pretty good prices and a nice selection of things.”
Meanwhile, the president of restaurant chain Applebee’s has voiced his gloomy forecasts for upcoming restaurant closures.
And a popular store is offering hefty discounts during its liquidation sale ahead of Sunday’s closing.