After 37 years in the community, Willard will be losing its main grocery store.
The grocery, located at 21 Blossom Centre Blvd., Willard, will shut its doors by the end of the month. The store, owned by John Missler, has several employees who have worked there for decades. A worker there said Missler had no comment on the situation.
The employees won’t be the only ones affected by the loss. Residents through out Willard and its surrounding communities will notice the difference — especially in the drive time just to get their basic groceries.
Barbara Leis, Attica, said she and her husband have been going to the store as their main stop for food and home items since they were married about 35 years ago.
“This is the first place we hit (when shopping),” she said. “We’re about 10 miles west from here. It’s just usually here that we shop. I guess with them closing I guess we’ll have to go to (Discount) DrugMart, but they don’t have everything either. I never even thought about it really. I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to go to Walmart but that’s in Tiffin — that’s a 30 minute-drive to get our groceries.”
The couple goes to the Missler’s about once a week, and try to stop in anytime they’re in town “to see what they have on sale.”
“I’m really shocked,” she said. “People are losing their jobs too. It’s too bad. It’s sad. It’s really sad. We’re going to miss it.”
Life-long Willard resident Charlie Gibson agreed, adding he’s been shopping IGA since it was in the Save-A-Lot building at 20 Woodland Ave. He said the community is surprised and “no one knows what happened.”
“It’s made a lot of impact,” he said, adding he shops there about twice a week.
“You know how it is today, with the way you’ve got stores competing. They can’t compete with the big stores — Walmart, Kmart, all of them. Mom’n’pop shops are history now. There (are) no more mom‘n’pop stores because they cannot compete with the chains. They will be missed.”
Gibson said he’s not sure if any other store will be able to make a successful run in the strip mall, which has seen several businesses leave in recent years, including Taco Bell. He said if and until that happens he’ll have to shop at the local Save-A-Lot, Plymouth’s Community Markets — a 10 minute drive — or the Walmart in Norwalk — a 30 minute drive.
“It’ll be inconvenient,” he said. “ I don’t know what happened.