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Southeast Raleigh neighborhood is losing a grocery store

What is a Food Desert?

Find out what is being done to combat these nutritional wastelands on a trip to Philadelphia with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2010.
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Find out what is being done to combat these nutritional wastelands on a trip to Philadelphia with First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2010.

The Save-A-Lot grocery store that opened in 2015 in an area of Southeast Raleigh proclaimed a food desert by the USDA is closing.

The grocery store shares a shopping center with a Roses Discount Store, a laundromat, a barber shop and other small stores at 1610 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Before Save-A-Lot, a national discount grocery chain, the shopping center was home to a Kroger, which closed in January 2013.

On Wednesday, most shelves were bare inside the store, and signs announcing the store’s closing were posted throughout the inside of the store and on the front door.

The Roses and Save-A-Lot are owned and operated by Variety Wholesalers, a company headed by former state budget director Art Pope. Variety purchased the building in 2013 for $2.57 million and divided the space for the Roses and Save-A-Lot.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Variety Wholesalers had no comment on the specifics of the store closing or the number of employees affected, but did say that it’s standard to offer employees affected by store closings opportunities at other Variety stores in the area.

He would not confirm an official closing date, but did say the Roses store was not closing.

The USDA defines a food desert as areas where fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful foods are not easily accessible. These deserts are typically in lower income areas that lack grocery stores and farmers markets.

Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and also covers local retail.

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