Delchamps to close here

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / December 2, 2000

LAPLACE – Customers of Delchamps grocery store on Airline Highway will soon have to find another place to make groceries.

The Jitney Jungle/Delchamps Corp. is closing the store Dec. 9 as part of areorganization plan that has been effect since the grocery chain declared bankruptcy back in October, 1999.

“Actually, we wanted to sell the store, not close it,” said Clint Williams, senior vice-president of operations for Jitney Jungle/Delchamps. “Butnobody wanted to buy the store.”Since 1999 Jitney Jungle/Delchamps has been selling all its stores to such grocery giants as Winn-Dixie and Sav-A-Center. However, nobody wasinterested in purchasing the Delchamps in LaPlace. Winn-Dixie has a storeseveral blocks away already and the Delchamps is right next door to another giant competitor, Wal-Mart.

“I hate to see them close,” said LaPlace resident and loyal Delchamps shopper Thelma Clement. “The store was always nice and clean and theworkers were always friendly and nice.”Williams said closing the store was the only option for the company since they could no sell it.

The store employs “less than 50 people,” said Williams, but according to him, none of the workers will lose their jobs, which is good news during this holiday season.

Jitney Jungle/Delchamps will transfer some employees to other Delchamps stores that are still operating, and Winn-Dixie has offered to hire others.

For LaPlace and St. John the Baptist Parish shoppers, the closing ofDelchamps means their choices for making groceries will get a little smaller.

There is the Winn-Dixie on Airline and Franks Super-Value also on Airline.

For those in the eastern part of the parish, there is still Weber’s and Don’s Country Store, both on Central Avenue in Reserve.

But that doesn’t seem to satisfy some of the customers coming out of Delchamps. Even though the store was having a 20 percent off sale,shoppers were not happy with the news of the shut down.

“All of my shopping was done here, ” said LaPlace resident Nancy Livingston. “I like the people here and the double coupons. Hopefullyanother store will open here.””I think this is horrible,” said another shopper who wished to remain anonymous. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”St. John Parish Councilman Cleveland Farlough was philosophical about theclosing as he loaded groceries into the trunk of his car.

“This is not a good thing for the parish,” admitted Farlough, “But that’s the way of business. It is survival of the strongest.”The closing of Delchamps follows last month’s announcement that the Weiner’s store in Riverlands Shopping Center was also closing up shop because of its parent company declaring bankruptcy.

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