Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New 'food desert' forms on south side

Cub Foods just announced the closure of its store at 4716 Verona Road, all part of corporate downsizing in response to the current recession.

Normally, I admit that this sort of announcement wouldn't necessarily catch my attention. I used to give rides to residents in that area when I drove for Women's Transit Authority, though, and I remember that a lot of the people that relied on the store also didn't own cars. I saw many women walking their grocery carts across busy Verona road to get from their homes over in the Allied Drive neighborhood to Cub. We also provided rides for people who needed to make a trip to the grocery store and couldn't walk it.

The loss of that store leaves a pretty big hole in the food landscape for those people who live in the area. It will be especially hard, I imagine, for those still without easy access to transportation.

I'm not placing all of the blame on the decision-makers at Cub Foods. They're a business and have to make choices that will help keep the business afloat in difficult economic times. But I can't help but wonder what will happen with the people that relied on the Verona Road store for their groceries? Will they be able to get to the more outlying stores? Will a new grocery go in where Cub once was?

And while I recognize that it's usually just a simple, hard matter of following the money, it's difficult to see something like this happen when we have other, more affluent neighborhoods that enjoy two or even three grocery stores within a small area.

It's something well worth thinking about as a city when we talk about how best to serve all of our citizens.

5 comments:

Kyle/thebookpolice said...

With Hy-Vee expanding into Wisconsin, and in particular the former mid-east side desert around the old K-Mart, I wouldn't be shocked to see them look long and hard at the soon-to-be-former Cub.

Kyle/thebookpolice said...

I take that partially back. Looks like Hy-Vee wants to expand into Westgate.

John A said...

It's not in exactly the same spot, but Aldi is moving in nearby.

http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/top/432491

Though at the risk of sounding elitist, Aldi is nasty.

Emily said...

I don't think it's elitist to recognize that Aldi is, in fact, a bit nasty. But it'll still be good to have some sort of affordable grocer in that area. I'm concerned, however, because it's still much further away from the Allied and surrounded neighborhoods than the Cub was.

Melody said...

Emily - Any progress on this since you wrote. I'm trolling the web and don't think so. I was looking at it as a topic because of the First Lady's national health/anti-obesity campaign. Access to healthy options.

The Lost Albatross