West Side grocery store suddenly closes: 'I'm really sad about this'

Just days before Christmas, one of the largest grocery stores in the North Austin neighborhood has suddenly closed its doors, creating a "food desert."

Now, local politicians are calling on City Hall to help.

With only days warning, the Save A Lot food store at Central and North Avenue shut its doors for good on Thursday, with longtime customers finding a sign on the front door and empty shelves inside.

"It gets me down. I don’t understand why though. The neighborhood needs the stores," said customer Terry Miller.

"They had good meat, good prices. I’m really sad about this," customer E. Melody said.

While there are a handful of small corner stores in the area, the closest full-service grocery is a mile away, which affects seniors like Willie Usry.

"I was depending on it because I don’t have a car, and now I got to go all the way down to Tony’s to the grocery store to get food," he said.

"I’m working with the mayor’s office and heads of the economic development team," said 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts.


Mitts says she is working with City Hall to try to prevent a food desert in North Austin.

"Got to have another grocery store. I don’t want to see the people not being able to have that access," she said.

Save A Lot -- a discount supermarket chain with 1,300 stores across 36 states -- says in a statement that closing the Austin store was a "difficult decision. We look forward to continuing to serve customers at one of our other Chicago locations."

A sign outside the shuttered store directs customers to their closest location at 400 South Pulaski, which is about 3.5 miles away.