Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer responds to announcement that Owen’s on Market Street is closing

(photo supplied / Owen's)

“Sixty years in downtown, it’s been an institution in our downtown.”

That’s how Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer describes the Owen’s location on Market Street.

Kroger’s announced Wednesday that they would be closing the store within 30 days due to poor financial performance.

RELATED: Small Owen’s in Warsaw closing within 30 days

Thallemer tells News Now Warsaw he knows there are other grocery stores in Warsaw, but has concerns about losing the only one that was located downtown.

“Five grocery stores now that Owen’s downtown is closed, but they’re all along the highway,” he says.  “The inconvenience of not having a downtown store I know will be felt by a lot of people.”

He says he received a call from Kroger, the parent company of Owen’s, shortly before they sent out their press announcement.

“I was very disappointed to hear that. Downtown really needs a grocery store. With a lot of the development we’re doing downtown, the Buffalo Street Project bringing in eventually 50 to 60 town homes, it would be obviously much more convenient to have a grocery store downtown,” he explains.

Thallemer says we need to focus on the 54 employees of the Market Street Owen’s to make sure they find new work.

“Most importantly are those folks who have given their time and energy as loyal employees to Owen’s to work and now they are faced with having to relocate or find a different job,” he says. “We’re hopeful. I know Kroger has talked about maybe accommodating some of those folks up at their store on Center Street East.”

The Mayor says the decision came from Kroger’s corporate office, and the city will assist anyway they can in getting the employees of that location taken care of and working again.