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By Carmen Ensinger
Those driving past the old IGA store might have noticed something missing the past few days. The County Market trailer is gone.
Carrollton Mayor Mike Snyder announced Monday that County Market has pulled out of their partnership to provide groceries to the community from their store in Girard.
“The orders had diminished and it just wasn’t working out for them – it wasn’t profitable for them,” Snyder said Monday morning. “They gave it a try and for the first couple of weeks the orders came in pretty good, but then they started going down and they never came back up and they just couldn’t continue operating at a loss.”
County Market approached the city of Carrollton back in May after Kroger closed both its Carrollton and White Hall stores about bringing in the trailer and doing a trial run. Customers could use an online app to order groceries, which would be delivered to the trailer from the Girard store twice a week for a small fee.
Director of Supermarket Operations for Niemann Foods, who owns County Market, Tim Murphy said it was a market study to see if it would justify them being able to actually build and operate a store in the Carrollton area. Evidently the market study failed.
“He told me they gave it a chance, but there just wasn’t enough orders coming in for them to justify keeping it here and their lease was just about up,” Snyder said. “He did say that if anyone over here wants to continue to order they could maybe set up a spot to drop them off at.”
Boyd Hospital, who purchased the IGA building to turn it into a physical therapy building, had given County Market three-months free rent. Local businesses and individuals in the community had paid to have electric from the building ran to the trailer at no expense to County Market and County Market was not being charged for the electric being used to air condition the trailer and keep the freezers going.
Snyder said he wished it would have been a success, but can kind of see why it wasn’t.
“I kind of understand, in a way, why it wasn’t,” he said. “I’m not a computer guy myself, so I get it why a lot of people might not really want to order their groceries online. Plus, when I order a steak, I want to pick it out myself and I think a lot of people are that way. It is just the nature of people – they want to look at what they are buying.”
Plus, the market that could benefit the most from it – the elderly – was hampered by two things – the lack of computer skills and the $30 grocery minimum.
“I’m not saying all of the elderly don’t know how to use a computer, but a lot of your older folks are not comfortable using a computer – even I’m not that comfortable using one,” he said. “Plus, a lot of them are alone, and to have a $30 order minimum, they might not need to spend that much all the time.”
Then there is the fact that people simply learn to adapt to their situation.
“I think in the beginning everyone was upset that they couldn’t just drive uptown and get whatever they wanted,” Snyder said. “I know I was because I went to Kroger every day. But it doesn’t take us long to adapt to the fact that we have to make changes in our lives. We don’t have that convenience. I think another thing that hurt them is that people in the south are used to going to Jerseyville and people in the north, Jacksonville. They go there anyway, so why not just get what they need when they go.”
Snyder said the city still has Dollar General where folks can get their bread, milk, eggs and an assortment of other frozen foods, plus some canned goods. The convenience stores also carry bread and milk and a variety of other items for those who might need them after Dollar General closes.