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Long waits, low staffing: Shoppers point out issues at west Broadway Kroger

Kroger grocery carts
Michael Kudela
Creative Commons
Shoppers and Louisville Metro Council members are raising concerns about unreliable hours at the Kroger on west Broadway.

Metro Council Member Tammy Hawkins, a District 1 Democrat, said when Kroger in the West End closes early, it feels like a “smack on the face” for all residents who shop there.

Early closings hurt people who have few transportation options, Hawkins said.

“And the question is, where are they left at if these doors are being closed early?” she said this week at a press conference aimed at drawing attention to the problem.

Hawkins said she wants to work to keep the store open longer, but warned people to “try not to take anything from the store.”

In an email, Louisville Metro Police Department spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said, since March 2023, the 1st Division has made calls for service regarding trespassing at the Kroger store on Broadway, but none for shoplifting.

Kroger corporate representatives did not respond to requests for comment. It is not clear why the store occasionally and without warning closed at 8:45 p.m., instead of the stated closing time of 9 p.m. In a statement to WDRB, a Kroger spokesperson apologized and committed to keeping the doors open until 9 p.m.

Park Duvalle resident and Kroger customer Eric Livers has witnessed the slow degradation of the west Broadway location over the past ten years.

Livers said shoplifting is a problem, with understaffing and not enough security contributing.

“You're going to have folks with full baskets completely walk out of the store. Because there are not enough carts in line. And long wait times,” he said.

Livers feels the store is “bottom of the barrel” for the Kroger chain.

“I hate to say it, but predominantly white neighborhoods, you know, that's where the money goes,” he said.

These days, new grocery stores are going up in east Louisville, which already has a variety of options. Meanwhile, much of west Louisville remains a food desert, where accessing affordable fresh foods is a struggle for many residents.

Ruth Golightly, a longtime West End resident, walked into the Kroger at the west Broadway location on Thursday. Shopping at the location is never her first choice, but she said she needed to pick up chicken on the way home.

She prefers the Portland or Highlands Krogers. They’re cleaner, have fully stocked shelves and a better environment, she said.

“You could just see the cleanness, and practically I will say, feel it when you walk in. I don’t get that when I come here. It just seems a little tight, closed up,” Golightly said.” But I come here because of the convenience.”

She also said having more employees to ease the long lines would be a big improvement.

Changes to grocery store hours can heavily impact neighborhoods where fresh food options are hard to come by.

West Louisville residents have long demanded more grocery and fresh food options so they can rely less on the food marts and convenience stores littered across the nine neighborhoods. Those stores serve mostly fast food like fried chicken, deli sandwiches and pizza.

And while dollar stores provide some respite, they often don’t offer fresh produce, which doesn’t usually fit with the low-cost model.

Experts have criticized dollar stores – which are oversaturated in majority-Black neighborhoodsfor predatory tactics that undermine local businesses and worsen food deserts.

Here are some places to get fresh food outside a grocery:

The West End Farmer’s Market was launched earlier this year by local nonprofit Change Today, Change Tomorrow.

Feed the West offers food pantry kiosks run by Change Today, Change Tomorrow for families in west Louisville.

Dare to Care Food Bank and Kroger’s Zero Hunger mobile market make a few stops daily across the city.

Louisville Metro Government, Kroger and Dare to Care Food Bank partnered to launch a mobile market in Fairdale this month.

Divya is LPM's Race & Equity Reporter. Email Divya at dkarthikeyan@lpm.org.

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