The Wegmans on Mt. Hope Avenue, an important part of the local community, closed Oct. 11 due to what the company cites as financial difficulties. The closing has evoked outrage in area residents and caused many to look at Wegmans as a company in a more skeptical manner.
Many people showed up at the store within half an hour of its publicized 5 p.m. closing, only to find the doors locked and a sign reading “Store Closed.” In what many area residents saw as yet another disservice to the community, the store had closed nearly an hour early.
“Danny Wegman hasn’t heard the last of me,” Sharon Silvio, a city high school teacher who lives on East Avenue, said. Silvio said many of her students are immigrants who live near and shop at the Mt. Hope Wegmans.
“Many [immigrant] families don’t have cars to go to another [Wegmans],” she said.
“I think it’s appalling,” Brighton resident Patricia Patterson said. “I do most of my shopping at Tops now because of things like this.”
Phil Kloeden, who lives just a half mile from the Mt. Hope Wegmans and biked to the store for his grocery shopping over most of the last 12 years, said he will now have to travel four or five times as far, to the next closest Wegmans, on Hylan Drive. “And with winter coming that’s bad news,” Kloeden said.
Many UR students are also lamenting the loss of the local store. The Mt. Hope Wegmans store is the only grocery located within walking distance.
“It’s bad for the freshmen,” junior Jacob Molin said. “They lose the ability to get food easily.”
Sophomore Nat Powell shares Molin’s view. “I was really disappointed,” Powell said. “[It was] one of the only non-ARAMARK sources of food accessible to me.”
“Wegmans was part of being a student,” class of 2003 graduate Jennifer Semran, in town for the university’s Meliora Weekend celebrations, said. “My first two years of school, before I had a car, I always came here for groceries.”
Many area employees are also upset with the closing.
“Wegmans started downtown,” Monroe Community Hospital worker Ali Omar, who shopped regularly at the Mt. Hope Wegmans, said. “Now they’re closing here. They don’t want to service the community.”
Hezekiah McKnight, who has many friends among the store’s staff, expressed concern for the employees, most of whom will be moved to other area Wegmans. “This location, for many of the workers, was on the bus lines,” McKnight said. “Now the other stores are outside the bus lines.”
Area resident Carol Srokose remembers when Loblaws, another grocery store, closed on Mt. Hope Avenue and Wegmans shortly reopened down the street. “This store was a godsend,” she said.
Merkley can be reached at email@example.com.