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Plan fails, Elmore store closes its doors last week

By Staff | Mar 4, 2012

On Wednesday, the weather was cool, wet and dreary.

It was even gloomier in Elmore.

The town’s grocery store – Elmore Food Center – was closing its doors for good at 6 p.m.

“I tried everything to keep it open. But, business just went down and down, little by little,” says Rob Schau, who bought the business in July 2010.

A handful of customers walked up and down the aisles with food shelves that were almost bare.

“I hate it. It’s too bad,” says customer Alfred Risk. “Gee whiz. Now I’ll have to drive to another town for something.”

Schau worked behind the cash register, checking and bagging groceries.

He says the lack of support from local townspeople left him no choice, but to close.

“I didn’t expect them to buy everything here, only enough to keep the doors open,” Schau says. “Instead they went out of town.”

A group’s effort to keep the store open has been abandoned.Resident Bill Hurd and four others expressed an interest in buying the business.

But, Hurd says they conclude the investment was not economically feasible.

“We made a good faith effort. I can honestly say we did not see any way to make it work,” he says.

Mayor Keven Sullivan has said the city has no desire to help keep the store open and would rather see private ownership.

He says government should not be in the grocery business.

For Risk, the store’s closing may be a little more personal. At one time he worked as a carry-out and stocking shelves.

“It’s more than just a store. The money I made here helped me out,” he says.

Schau says he feels bad for the town of 600 residents, but he doesn’t think he bears all the blame.

“They let me down by not shopping here,” he says. “They can’t complain why they don’t have a grocery store.”

The store’s fixtures and other items will be auctioned off on April 4.

Anyone interested in buying the building or leasing it may call Schau at (712) 390-0011.