Community loses much needed grocery store - WNEM TV 5

Community loses much needed grocery store

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HEMLOCK, MI (WNEM) -

A local town just lost their only grocery store, which has been a staple of the town for decades.

In Hemlock, former employees lost their job and the entire community is suffering the loss.

The laughter, the memories, and of course the shopping at Ric’s grocery store in Hemlock is soon coming to an end.

Monica Reynolds and her family have owned the store for 20 years. Deciding to close is one of the hardest decisions they’ve ever made.

“I’m sad, I’m sad,” said Reynolds. “I’ll miss the people that work here and people that I know in the community.”

Reynolds said years of declining sales left them without much of a choice, but for small town Hemlock closing their doors means a lot more than losing the area’s only grocery store.

“It’s kind of a local hang out place you know, where you can come and connect with other people in the community,” Reynolds said.

Donna Milbrandt’s been shopping at Ric’s since she can remember. Besides church, it’s one of the only places she can catch up with her friends.

“Everybody that’s anybody comes here and has been for years,” Milbrandt said. “This is where we see all of our neighbors and it’s going to be very sad.”

Ric’s is starting their liquidation sale by marking their products 30 percent off.

The store will close it’s doors once all the food on its shelves is sold and with their extra sales, it could only take a few weeks.

Once the shelves are clear, the people of Hemlock will have to find somewhere else to shop.

The next closest grocery store is eight miles away.

“The whole town is going to be really depressed to have to go so far to get a loaf of bread or anything else,” Milbrandt said.

But customers won’t be the only ones on the search.

When Ric’s closes 24 employees will be without a job.

One of them is Chris Erickson. Ric’s was his very first job and he’s stayed for 15 years.

“It’s really sad and really unfortunate,” Erickson said. “A lot of the older people are crying and a lot of people are shopping here more, but it’s hard to keep up with the big stores and all that.”

The owners are working diligently to find their employees new jobs, their dedication doesn’t go unnoticed.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone in Hemlock,” Reynolds said. “We’ve had a great time here and we appreciate all their loyal business.”

Hemlock residents are holding a special farewell spaghetti dinner for the employees of Ric’s shopping center.

It will be on Dec. 22 at the Hemlock United Methodist Church at 4 p.m.

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