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Over 4,400 people sign petition to save local grocery store from closing

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Rett Nelson | EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — A popular grocery store announced this month it would be closing its doors, and many people aren’t happy about it.

More than 4,400 people have signed a petition asking for Smith’s Food and Drug in Idaho Falls to remain open.

“That’s impressive for a little town,” petition organizer Misty Shumate tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I thought I was the only one who felt (sad about the closure).”

Smith’s last day of operation will be April 7, according to a company spokeswoman. Customers are encouraged to visit Fred Meyer, its sister store, that is just two and a half miles away. Many of Smith’s products will continue to be sold in Fred Meyer because of its close proximity.

“We are pleased that all Smith’s associates have been offered positions at the Fred Meyer location and will continue to serve our customers with the same fresh products and services they have come to expect,” Smith’s Food & Drug Corporate Affairs Manager Aubriana Martindale said.

RELATED | Smith’s closing Idaho Falls store next month

Shumate has shopped at Smith’s for years and says the closure is like losing a member of her family. Smith’s is one of the “true neighborhood stores” that people can walk to for good deals, great prices and friendly service, she says.

“If you ask for something in the store, they walk you to it,” says Shumate. “If (Fred Meyer) absorbs all of Smith’s employees, they might be able to provide the same level of customer service as Smith’s does, but I don’t feel they have in the past.”

Winco, which is two blocks away from Smith’s, is another popular store where many families go to stock up on groceries. Its doors will remain open and continue to be an option for customers.

But Kimberly Zwygart, another Smith’s customer, says there are items offered at Smith’s that aren’t available at Winco or Fred Meyer.

“I’m not one to fight for a store on a normal basis. However, I’m ready to chain hug Smith’s,” Zwygart says. “This store is a staple to the lower class. The case lot sales they have monthly save my family several times. Winco doesn’t have case lot sales.”

Smith’s is busy all the time, Shumate says, so it doesn’t make sense to close it. The company has not responded to a request for comment and Shumate has not heard back either, but she hopes to get a response soon.

“Some businesses have to have a public meeting if they want to remodel or put an electric sign up. I wish (Kroger – Smith’s parent company) would hear the community and what the store means (to us).”

Meanwhile, Shumate is grateful to those who have supported the cause and she’s inviting you to do the same. You can find the petition here.

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