TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A major grocery store is closing in Douglas leaving the border town with just a Walmart and few local shops. It’s inconveniencing customers and leaving dozens with uncertain futures.
One of those left with an uncertain future is long-time employee Eloy Gonzales. He was greeting customers outside of the grocery store.
“I feel sad because my work after so many years being here didn’t matter to them,” said Gonzales.
Gonzales said it’s a community at the grocery store and after 19 years he won’t have a job anymore.
“It’s like they said here’s your papers and see you later,” he said.
Food City is owned by Bashas.
The City of Douglas explained the company is making the move to close down the grocery store when its lease is up because it’s seen a decrease in business over the past few years.
“It’s a very small community, so something like this is very impactful and very discouraging. I also want people to be positive that we’re going to get through this," said Mayor Donald Huish.
Mayor Huish said people within a 20 to 30-mile radius travel to stock up on groceries.
“We believe the market’s here. We believe the demographics of Douglas and the surrounding areas are over 21,000 and then you throw in the Agua Prieta side which is anywhere from 120 to 150,000 people. This is a viable market for a grocery store that can support that,” he said.
Others are long-time locals like Manuel Valenzuela. He said the closure is an inconvenience.
“I like it here because I get my prescriptions and whatever I need for groceries and so it’s going to be a big loss,” said Valenzuela.
While it’s a loss for the community, the company did offer to transfer employees.
“Our lives are here in Douglas. Not somewhere else, not anywhere else—just here in Douglas,” said Gonzales.
He isn’t alone, 60 to 70 others are looking at an uncertain future.
“That’s why we’re trying to recruit someone that can go full force to fill that void. There is some other economic development going on in town that hopefully, they can transition to with some job training,” said Mayor Huish.
The store will close on October 2.
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