JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Publix grocery store in the Gateway Town Center will close its doors at the end of the year. Store officials said the lease is up and the store will be shutting down.
Publix officials said in a statement to News4Jax news partner the Jacksonville Daily Record, "We've been privileged to serve the Gateway community for two decades and are approaching the end of our lease at this location."
Shoppers wondered why the store didn't just renew the lease in an area that's been known as a food desert with a lack of fresh foods close to residents' homes. The closest Publix will soon be 5-6 miles away.
"You know that there's a food desert, and you know that your quality does not compare to what's down the street," shopper Clanzerria Brown said.
Clanzerria Brown and Lourna Brown aren't related but are old co-workers who always see each other at the Publix in the Gateway Town Center.
"She comes two to three times a week, I come three to four times a week because I like fresh items," Clanzerria Brown said.
This has been their go-to spot for their groceries.
"I'm very surprised," Lourna Brown said. "We have a lot of elderly over here. We just built up new apartments for our women and their children, and this is in walking distance for everyone."
"I have a vehicle, so I can go to this Publix, the one on Dunn Avenue and the one out on Normandy," Clanzerria Brown said. "I choose to come to this one because it's in this community and it's feeding into this community."
Clanzerria Brown says Publix should talk to those who live in this community before pulling the plug on their store.
"You always say that you're hallmark value in Publix and that you are invested in your community, so if you're invested in your community, why are you pulling out in your community and you've been a stalwart in this community for 20 years?" Clanzerria Brown said.
Employees will be offered positions at nearby locations. One is 6 miles away on Dunn Avenue, and another is 5 miles south on Riverside Avenue.