The Marsh Hometown Market store on State Street will close within the next three weeks, leaving the Indiana-based grocer with one store in Columbus, the company announced Thursday.
The store at 2710 State St. will be closed at the same time as a Marsh store in Marion.
Marsh spokeswoman Connie Gardner said via email that the two store closings affect “less than 75 people.” She said she did not have a breakdown by store.
About 45 of those employees work full time.
“As many employees as possible will be given the opportunity to transfer to another location or be granted a severance package,” Gardner said.
Marsh operates a larger Hometown Market store at 3075 25th St. on the northeast side of Columbus, which will remain open.
Gardner said the company reached the decision after carefully reviewing its assets and because leases were expiring.
“While the decision to close stores is never easy, the management team is committed to improving operating results and strengthening the company’s position in our marketing areas,” Gardner said.
Closing of the east side’s sole grocery store was described by one neighborhood leader as a blow for an area that was already in need of revitalization.
“I am shocked that they’re closing,” said Priscilla Scalf, executive director of Eastside Community Center, which provides services including foreclosure intervention and other help to underprivileged families.
Thirty-one percent of the residents within Eastside’s reach in east Columbus live at or below the poverty level, according to Census statistics.
Scalf said many of the center’s clients shop at the State Street Marsh store.
“It will be a hardship because of the distance to get to other grocery stores,” she said.
The nearest grocery store, Walmart on Tenth Street, is about 2 miles away. Kroger, on National Road, is about 2.5 miles away.
East side residents without transportation will be hit especially hard, Scalf said, because they may have to walk, hitch a ride with friends or take the bus to do their shopping.
City bus schedules may not be conducive to the time residents are off work, Scalf said. “That creates other problems.”