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Announced closure of longtime Collinwood grocery store sparks 'food desert' concerns

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 19:28:25-04

CLEVELAND — The family-owned and operated Dave’s Markets announced Monday that the regional supermarket chain will close its longtime Euclid Beach location after 34 years of operation. Located across from the senior residential high-rise buildings, the future closure of the Euclid Beach store has left many longtime customers and city leaders concerned about access to fresh food and produce in the North Collinwood neighborhood.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Aaron Saltzman, the head of marketing and store operations for Bedford-based Dave’s Markets, said the decision to close the Euclid Beach location was made with a “heavy heart.” Once the store ceases operations on April 30, all employees will be given the opportunity to transfer to the newly-remodeled store in nearby Euclid, which is a 10-minute drive from the Euclid Beach location. Additionally, Saltzman said the company is committed to working with Cleveland city officials to provide transportation assistance to customers affected by the closure.

“Dave’s is committed to working collaboratively with the City of Cleveland and the community to help ensure those in need of transportation to Shore Center have an option free of charge. The company will continue to proudly operate 7 stores in the City of Cleveland and appreciates its strong relationship with the city and communities it serves,” Saltzman said in a statement.

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Longtime Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek said he was disappointed and saddened by the announced closure.

“They have been a fixture on Lakeshore Boulevard for over 30 years and many of our seniors and residents have depended on them for basic groceries,” Polensek said in a statement. “It’s clear we must collectively develop a strategic economic plan to attract and keep full-service grocery stores in our neighborhoods, particularly in Cleveland’s northeast side.”

Residents of Euclid Beach Villas are among the market’s most loyal customers given the proximity to the senior high rise apartments.

“I’m at Euclid Beach Villa and it’s just a matter of walking across the street to get what I need,” said Vanessa Thomas. “I’m really going to miss it. A lot people are going to miss it because a lot of my neighbors shop here… They rely on Dave’s. It was one of the [benefits] of being out here.”

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Thomas and fellow Euclid Beach Villas resident Michael Anderson, who both visit the nearby Dave’s Market multiple times per week, expressed concern with the potential void that would be created when it comes to access to fresh food.

“It’s going to hurt these people right here because most of these people can’t get around,” Anderson said. “It’s like losing a family member. Losing this right here, it’s going to hurt a lot of people.”

An analysis conducted in 2018 by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission found that nearly half a million people in Cuyahoga County live in food deserts, which includes a staggering 59% of all Cleveland residents. Pockets of the North Collinwood neighborhood bucked that trend, due in large part to Dave’s Markets Euclid Beach location.

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“Over the past two years, shopping habits have changed and we understand how challenging it is to operate a business in this economic climate. We must continue to invest in Cleveland neighborhoods and develop strategies to eradicate food deserts,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. “Dave’s Markets are staples in our communities and we’re working closely with them to minimize the impact of this major loss.”

The specifics of the transportation services that will be provided to customers have not been released yet.