Indianapolis grocer Double 8 Foods permanently closes stores
For five decades, Double 8 Foods has been serving the under-served. So when, at 7 a.m. Thursday, "closed" signs went up instead of the doors opening, there was shock and disbelief.
Oh man!" said Paulette Fair as she tried to get into the closed store. "I need carrots and collard greens and chicken for lunch today. This is my neighborhood store...gosh."
The chain opened as a single store called "7-11" at 30th and Sherman in 1957, back when many groceries cost less than a dollar. In 2000, the named changed to "Double 8," with six Indianapolis locations. Nothing fancy, no frills, but accessible and affordable for inner city neighbors with few other grocery options.
"It's sad in a sense that it's going to create another food desert here for people here who need access to affordable food. So, a little bit sad," said Larry Fitzgerald, a member of the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association.
Sad, too, for the owners. The realities of trying to operate a small, family-owned business alongside corporate giants proved impossible.
"This was a very agonizing decision. This was not a simple decision for us to make," said Isaiah Kuperstein, Double 8 Foods president.
But with less money coming in, and no outside company willing to buy the tiny chain, the decision was made for them.
"We hung in there. Even with revenue losses, we still hung in there," explained Kuperstein, "but we simply could not make it any more. And that's why we had to fold."
The small office staff will help sell off inventory. The stores themselves will also be liquidated.
"(It's been) here as long as I have," said long-time customer William Sanders, "and I liked shopping here. Guess I got to find someplace else to go now."
Four Double 8 Foods supermarkets remained at the time of closing — one on Sherman, Dr. M.L. King, Illinois and Fairfield.
Forty people will lose their jobs as a result of the closure. Inventory, equipment and buildings will be liquidated, according to the company.