Kroger Shoppers, Workers Mobilize To Keep Galax, VA, Store Open

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kroger Shoppers, Workers Mobilize To Keep Galax, VA, Store Open(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

When Kroger announced on January 17 that it planned to close its legacy store in Galax, VA., workers and customers swiftly mobilized to keep the store open. The Galax Kroger has been a community fixture since 1931 in the small town seven miles from the North Carolina border. Upset at the prospect of not being able to buy affordable, healthy food locally and losing the high quality customer service they’ve been accustomed to for decades, customers joined with UFCW Local 400 members to mobilize the community to contact company executives and sign petitions. Within hours of the announcement, Melissa Turman, a customer and restaurant owner who lives two miles from the store, launched a “Save Kroger in Galax, Virginia” Facebook page that garnered 3,200 “likes” in less than a week (the population of Galax is just over 7,000). “With Kroger in Galax, everyone feels like family,” said Turman. “This family has given Kroger 80 years of loyalty and this is how they pay us back?” Local 400 member and shop steward Kristy Key echoed these sentiments. “If Kroger decides to close,” she said, “it would be like our community center closing. It warms my heart that the customers gathered together on their own—no one told them to do it—to start the Facebook page and the online and hard copy petitions as well as making countless phone calls and emails to Kroger’s headquarters to keep the doors open. That should tell Kroger something.” Based on a longer report on the UFCW 400 website. photo: (l-r): Matthew Jones – Meat Clerk, 3 years of service; Bryan Gravley – Customer Service Mgr., 24 yrs; Randall Lowe – Meat Mgr.; David Williams – Receiver, 47 yrs.; Kristy Key – Assistant Customer Service Mgr.,16 yrs. Photo courtesy Kristy Key.


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