Vinton County's Only Grocery Store to Close

By: Lauren Schmoll Email
By: Lauren Schmoll Email

McARTHUR, Ohio (WSAZ) -- In the one-stoplight town of McArthur, the grocery store's announcement that it was going out of business was front page news -- news that was very upsetting to Loretta Saylor.

“I'm just really sad about it,” Saylor said.

Not only because the grocery store has been here for 27 years, but because it's the only grocery store in the entire county.

“This was a place we could depend on,” Saylor said. “And so I think we're really going to miss it.”

Owner Maryjane Ferguson opened the store with her husband Tom nearly three decades ago. When he died in 2007, Maryjane took over: keeping the business running with the help of many family members.

“What are these last few weeks going to be like?” asked.

“Like this,” Ferguson said. “Kleenex in hand. And it's just the hardest thing -- aside from burying Tom -- that I've had to do.”

As for why they're shutting down, she says things like healthcare and new government regulations made it harder to stay afloat. And when the derecho hit last year, shutting the store down for nearly a week, they just couldn't bounce back.

“If I'm going to be here and be in business, I want to be able to provide what people need,” Ferguson said. “And it was getting to the point where I couldn't do that.”

Neighbors say they'll have to drive 20 to 45 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store. McArthur's mayor is urging folks to make sure non-driving neighbors have the things they need.

“I just know the community,” Mayor James Woodell said. “We'll take care of each other. We always have.”

Loretta says she’s already worried about what she’s going to do without the store.

“That really makes -- made -- my life easier,” Saylor said. “So I'm now worrying about Thanksgiving already.”

The store will close by the end of this month.

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