Thursday, February 18, 2010
Stores come and go all the time, but Wellington shoppers say it hurts to see a long-time grocer close up shop.
In recent years, shoppers in Wellington have known one local grocery store as the Wellington Apple Market at 214 North Jefferson Avenue. The grocery store at the location has had various names since the 1950s, often associated with the IGA name.
For the past eleven years, owner Tim Voegeli, saw to it that shelves were well-stocked. They're mostly empty now.
Customer Karen Anderson says, "We love to shop here". She adds that Wellington's seniors will miss the market the most because of the convenience of its central town location and because it is smaller in size and easier to shop in.
At its peak, the store had 25 to 30 employees. Of late, that number dropped to half that many. Voegeli says his two stores in Winfield and Rose Hill remain competitive.
"The town got a little crowded with competition," Voegeli says. "And then with the downturn of the economy, it really hurt things."
Two years ago, Wal Mart built a super center on Wellington's east edge. Voegeli says he withstood the competition until the economic downturn with the loss of manufacturing jobs.
"The aircraft industry when it went south...kind of everything else just goes right with it," Voegeli says.
He wonders how Wellington's downtown will do when his store closes. Wellington's chamber of commerce executive director Shelly Hansel says while the city hates to see the loss of any business the town continues to see other businesses open.