Doors closing for good at Waterville's only grocery store

WATERVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Food King is closing its doors in a few weeks, leaving the residents of Waterville without a single grocery store in town.

"It's not going to be good for us, for any of us or any of us in Waterville," said Ellen Maine, who used to work at Food King and shops there two to three times a week.

The store manager, Tina Jersey, said they had to close because sales are down and they can't keep up with the costs. The shelves are already emptying and discount signs hang in every aisle to speed up the process.

"There's quite a few people upset because it's been here for so many years," said Denise Zike, who also shops there frequently.

Now residents will be forced to drive the more than 10 miles to neighboring towns like Clinton and Hamilton to buy food.

"Which I'm not looking forward to it because of the winter driving and it was just nice to have the store right here because I could walk if I wanted to," said Zike.

Many residents at School House Apartments rely on the ability to walk to the store.

"There a lot of elderly people in this building, there a lot of people that are handicapped," said Maine, who lives at School House Apartments. "It's really going to be hard on the older people here in town and the people that don't drive."

Some say they'll turn to local convenience stores, but the products there are limited.

"There's Stewart's or Nice N Easy, but you can't pick up your meats and fresh cold cuts so it's very disappointing," said Barbara Tompkins, a Food King customer.

Beyond an inconvenience, many said they're just sad to see another empty storefront in Waterville.

"We used to have a few years, well not a few years ago, a number of years ago, we had three or four grocery stores and we had a bank and a savings and loan and there was quite a little bit here, but I don't know what's happening. I  really know know what it is," said Maine.

"No matter where you go there's always lot of talk that they're going to put something else in and everybody's hoping that, but it's also like the bank that they took out, where they're supposed to put something in and it's been over a year and nothing's in there. So you just hope they put something else back in just to support the community but you never know," said Melissa Keras.

The doors shut for good on Oct. 15.

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