Tuesday , May 21 2024

Save Mart to Close Central Fresno Store Weeks After Vons Closure in Same Area

Save Mart announced Tuesday it will be closing its store at Blackstone and Clinton in central Fresno on June 27 due to a recent increase in competition.

This comes three weeks after a nearby Vons at Blackstone near Ashlan announced it’s closing its doors June 12.

Sixty two employees work at that Save Mart, and the company is working on relocating them to other Save Mart of FoodMaxx stores in the area, according to Stacia Hill Levenfeld, director of communications for Save Mart.

The closure of both stores in central Fresno is a loss for employees and long-time customers who will have to travel farther to shop for the necessities.

"I think it’s sad because it’s like the only store that’s close enough [to] the Tower District that’s big enough that has stuff that you need," said long-time customer Susan Gutierrez.

"Where’s the people going to shop at? Where are they going to get their groceries because a lot of people here don’t have a car or they’re disabled," said Enrique Aguilar, another long-time customer.

By the end of the month, central fresno will lose two grocery stores that employ about 120 people combined.

In early May, Vons announced they’d close two of their stores, located at First and Nees and on Blackstone near Ashlan.

"Fresno is still not out of the great recession all the way, and these kinds of losses are just heartbreaking," said Clint Olivier, the Fresno City Councilman who represents the area. 

In late January, a super Walmart opened nearby on the corner of Blackstone and Ashlan. 

Levenfeld said the Save Mart in central Fresno was not able to compete well, but declined to specify.

In a statement, she said, "Unfortunately, the store has struggled over the past several months in light of increased competition."

"I find it hard to believe that a Walmart that’s been open for 100 days that’s three miles up the road can put an established retailer like Save Mart out of business," Olivier said.

Although Levenfeld said they are working to place the 62 employees in other area stores, its unclear whether they’ll be able to stay in Fresno.

"We know some of them (employees) by name. They’re always friendly, they’re always nice, and it’s going to be sad that they’re not going to be here," said Dawn Clement, a long-time Save Mart customer.

Save Mart owns the central Fresno property, and the company is working on leasing the property, according to Levenfeld.     

For those who fill their prescriptions at that location, Levenfeld said Save Mart will be transferring those prescriptions to the Save Mart at First and Bullard.

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