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Another food desert could pop up on the northeast side of Indianapolis

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 18:30:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Another northeast side grocery store may soon be closing its doors.

Just last week the Neighborhood Walmart Market at 38th Street and Franklin Road announced it would be closing this summer. Now, RTV6 has learned that the nearby A&I Variety Meats and Produce, which sits in the shadows of a closed Kroger store, may also be closing.

RTV6 first reported the store opened its doors in January with a plan to fill a grocery store void left behind by multiple larger grocers, including Marsh, Kroger and just last week, Walmart.

"It's frustrating," Shelley Covington, A&I Shopper and an east side activist, said. "Yes, anger, yes disappointed, that the city had allowed this area of town to become as challenging as it has been when it was never that way in the past."

A&I's owner, Robert Hearst, told RTV6 the store is struggling. Without financial help and support from city leaders, his store could be out of business in less than a month.

We can't keep being Facebook activists, and then when it's time to show up, we aren't doing anything.

East side resident sand Covington says losing A&I would be like being kicked while you are already down.

"The city needs to acknowledge that they need to financially invest not only in this store but in this area," Covington said. "We've had other businesses in this area, but they have left because the city has not felt the need to invest here like they do in downtown, or Fountain Square, or other areas of the city. They have neglected this area, and now they are starting to feel the brunt of that neglect."

Residents who call this community home say it's time for the people who live here to come together and let city leaders know, the food desert is killing their community.

"We're running out of place to go," Paula Barnett, a resident, said. "We have transportation issues. Robert is trying to set a goal and have someplace for our people to go."

"We can't keep being Facebook activists, and then when it's time to show up, we aren't doing anything," Covington said.

The community will get their chance to come together on the issue with the town hall at 8 p.m. in A&I on Friday.