Dillons closing strands community

The location at 1400 SW Huntoon st. has announced its intentions to close.

The location at 1400 SW Huntoon st. has announced its intentions to close.

Tom Teeter, News Editor

Earlier this month, the Dillons grocery store at 1400 SW Huntoon St. announced that it was closing its operations at this store. Following this statement there was a general public outcry from both government and private citizens over the effect this would have on the community.

The Huntoon Dillons serves a mostly low-income area with low access to food within a reasonable distance (one half mile to one mile), with many of the households not having access to vehicular transportation according to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Resource Service. These characteristics comprise what the USDA calls a “food desert.”

The problem now is that with Dillons leaving, many households will be left without affordable healthy nutrition in a reasonable distance. This situation may lead to conditions which could worsen health factors like obesity and chronic heart disease, according to a workshop by the National Academic Press.

The real issue here is the intersection of public issues with private business. Dillons supporters have argued that the location was not making a profit for some time and thus it should close. Opponents of the store closing have stated that the announcement has led to panic in the community and left local government without much time to find a solution.

Now, the public cannot effectively force Dillons to keep a location open but there should be something said about private-public relations at this point. No one can require a business to work with the public on internal business matters, nor should they. But to maintain a tenable community in which to operate, it should be the moral obligation of a business to work with community leaders in making decisions that may significantly affect people’s livelihoods.
So now with the community is left stranded without a convenient source of food it is up to local government to find an alternative business to pick up where Dillons left off but also investigate the root causes of Dillons’ leaving so this community does not face a similar situation down the line.