Management, students upset about closure of Kent’s Market

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    By LINDSAY SKOUSEN

    After 59 years of business, Kent’s Market will close its doors for the last time on Saturday.

    Jeff Johansen, owner of Kent’s Market, 1209 N. 900 East, said the main reason he is having to close the store is that his supplier, Associated Food Stores Inc., has started to charge a delivery fee that small stores like Kent’s cannot afford.

    “When Associated Food started charging delivery fees, we didn’t feel that we could pass those fees on to our customers, so my wife and I decided it would be better to close our doors now rather than go bankrupt down the road,” Johansen said.

    Associated Food Stores distributes food to a conglomeration of many large and small grocery stores in the Western United States.

    Alan Stark, Associated Food Stores Inc. marketing and communications director, said the delivery fees were implemented by his corporation to help cover the cost of delivering food to their stores.

    “We have 580 stores in eight states, and as more retailers join the association, we have to spread the delivery costs around,” Stark said.

    Stark said Associated Food Stores Inc. is not trying to target anyone with the new delivery costs.

    “The food industry is just changing so rapidly. It’s become really hard for independents to make it. Our object is not to shut anyone down,” Stark said.

    Kurt Seipert, vice president of Allens Super Save Markets, another smaller grocery chain who relies on Associated Food Stores, said the delivery fees have not hurt them.

    Johansen said the delivery fees are not the only reason Kent’s Market is closing. Because more students are bringing cars with them to BYU, Johansen said they are able to drive farther distances to the larger grocery stores.

    However, some students who do not have cars rely on Kent’s Market for their grocery needs and are worried about what they are going to do.

    “What are the freshman who live Heritage Halls that don’t have cars going to do? I’m even a little worried about where I’m going to buy food,” said Heather Dahlquist, a Kent’s Market employee.

    “I guess I’ll just have to beg for rides to the store or go to the creamery. You can’t really walk home from Food 4 Less will all your groceries,” said Jenny Shaw, 19, a freshman from Orem with an open major.

    To show their discontent with Kent’s closing, a group of freshman picketed outside Kent’s Market on Monday night. Some of the most memorable signs said “Save Kent’s” and “Where will we buy our milk?”

    “We just wanted to show our support of Kent’s and let the owners know they’re appreciated,” said Erin Sipherd, 18, a freshman from Auburn, Calif., with an open major.

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