South County has lost another grocery store. The Save-A-Lot store at 10047 Gravois Rd. in Affton's Grasso Plaza shopping center is closing effective Feb. 23.
The store, which is an anchor tenant in the plaza, is the latest chapter in the local grocery story in the area, following the , 11155 Gravois Rd. in nearby Sappington. Sappington Farmer's Market, also announced it would close its operation at 8400 Watson Rd. in Marlborough.
Save-A-Lot spokesman Chon Tomlin said the Affton Save-A-Lot store wasn't meeting its goals for sales and customer traffic that showed up in a re-evaluation of the store, which Tomlin said is a normal process for Save-A-Lot stores.
"Sometimes things change," Tomlin said of the re-evaluation. "You have to look at the sales to make sure the store is sustainable."
In the case of the Affton Save-A-Lot store, it didn't meet those expectations, Tomlin said.
While Crestwood has maintained its Watson Road grocery stores, the situation for Sappington and Affton area shopperss is slightly bleaker.
The news of the Save-A-Lot closing spread slowly in Affton, as no general announcement was made. Rather, a sign was posted inside the store informing customers of the closing date and thanking them for their patronage.
Joan Edleson, executive director of the Affton Chamber of Commerce noted the announcement but did not have any information about the reason for the closure.
Larry Stone, of the Affton Neighborhood Involvement Association, also was in the dark about the pending shutdown of Save-A-Lot.
"It's really scary (to have) one of the anchor tenants close like that," Stone said.
He said he intends to get the word out to the association as fast as possible, but admits there is little it can do to keep the grocery store in Affton.
Carol Boss, the Affton woman who headed up a high-profile petition drive to convince Trader Joe's to locate a new store in the South County area, is also concerned about the loss of another grocery opportunity in Affton.
"On a personal level it's going to affect me because I shop there," she said, adding that Save-A-Lot's Grasso Plaza location is another potential spot for Trader Joe's, which so far has rebuffed her efforts to bring a store to South County. Boss admits the petition drive was time consuming and drained much of her energy, although she insists the end of the Trader-Joe's-to-South County story has yet been written.
"I'm not giving up on the dream," she said.
Any work on finding a grocery tenant in Grasso Plaza will be a "lower key effort," she said.
Progress on Trader Joe's and, potentially, any involvement in the Save-A-Lot development, can be followed on Boss' Facebook page: Bring Trader Joe’s to the Communities of South St. Louis.
Although the Affton Save-A-Lot store is closing Feb. 23, company spokesman Tomlin said two other Save-A-Lot stores will open in the St. Louis area this year, including a store at 3160 Telegraph Road in Mehlville and another at 1631 Jefferson Ave. in south St. Louis.
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