Rural Oaks Sends Out S.O.S. To Save Their Schnucks

- ROCKFORD - The Rural Oaks Community is sending out an S.O.S. to keep their community grocery store in the area, and with just one week left until the store closes, dozens met Saturday morning to protest. That S.O.S. stands for save our Schnucks and the Rural Oaks neighborhood says they won’t give up their grocer without a fight.

“Save our store, save our store!” Dozens from the Rural Oaks neighborhood chant for an S.O.S. to stop a landmark and an important food source from leaving their area. “The people are devastated; this just came out of the clear blue sky.” Said Ken Becker, the owner of Becker Realty which is located across the street from the Rural Oaks location

Catherine Valdez, who has shopped at Schnucks for years says she was caught off guard. “It was so fast, and I feel the neighborhood was not prepared for it.”

This Schnucks has been feeding families for 57 years, but is set to close their doors
May 31, 2014.  Locals want answers before they lose their family grocer and an important part of their community. “Rockford doesn’t have grocery stores especially in this area, and when you head west, and we need this here.” Said Valdez

The Rural Oaks area has had an increase of development in the past few years, but Ben Becker, the owner of Becker Realty which is located right across the street from the Schnucks says this closure is going to decrease property value and stop new stores from coming in.  “We can’t lose these kinds of things in a central part of our city, or we are in serious trouble.”

Locals are disappointed and worried because of Schnucks non-compete clause, which could prevent another grocer from opening. “They were trying to not let another grocery store come in here, and that’s not fair. This is our neighborhood not theirs.” Said Valdez

Schnucks released this statement in regards to the closure "We respect the fact that this store has been a part of the community for quite some time, but it is important to know that it was underutilized.” But shoppers say they never saw this parking lot empty. “This store is always crowded I come here at all times, and there is always people shopping here.” Said Leslie Roxworthy, an organizer of the S.O.S. protest.

The corporation also noted that they have another location two miles away on Charles Street, but that added distance is difficult for shoppers like who ride motorized scooters to the store. “We want to keep it in the needs and the benefits of our community, and I think what we need is a grocery store, I really do.” Said Roxworthy

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