DC Grocery Store May Close, Leaving Struggling Community Without Resources

(RightWing.org) – Residents in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, DC, are worried the area’s only grocery store will soon close. So far, the owner, Giant Food, says they have no plans to shut the store — but they are fed up with rising thefts from the location, and a local councilor is whipping up fears. Now, local activists are joining in with pleas to keep the location open. Unfortunately, some of the same activists are also justifying the theft that’s at the root of the problem.

The Giant Food supermarket on Alabama Avenue is the only major grocery store left in Washington, DC’s Ward 8. According to the Washington Post, on Friday, August 11, local councilman Trayon White, Sr (D), spoke to the store’s management, who told him they’re losing hundreds of thousands of dollars to thieves every month. They didn’t mention closing the store — and in fact, the chain says it has “no current plans” to do so — but White isn’t convinced, and he’s warning residents their supermarket is at risk.

Those warnings are hitting home. Traci Pratt, who’s been buying her groceries at the Alabama Avenue Giant since it opened in 2007, told the Washington Post, “If we don’t have this one, there will be nowhere else” and said closing the store would be “a total injustice.” Local mother Rita May said, “I would die… I would be devastated.”

Giant says it doesn’t want to close the store but warned that it needs to operate “safely and profitably,” and said, “theft and violence at this store is significant, and getting worse… it is becoming increasingly more difficult to operate.”

Jo Patterson, from the East of the River Public Safety Consortium, doesn’t like that explanation. She defended the looters, refusing to call them thieves and insisting they’re only trying to “survive by any means necessary.”

The fact is, though, grocery stores aren’t charities, and they operate on slim margins. If their staff faces violence and their stock is being pillaged, they’ll close. If Ward 8 residents want their local supermarket to stay open, they need to stop stealing from it.

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