Empty store shelves in Limon's only grocery store

LIMON - It sits off the major east-west highway in Colorado, but despite its location and a population of 1,800 people, those who live in the town of Limon say they are driving up to an hour just to get groceries.

For the past several weeks, Limon residents have been emailing pictures to 9NEWS showing empty shelves in Bella's Market in Limon. They said the lone supermarket in town is not keeping its shelves stocked. At a forum held Wednesday evening, town leaders and the store's owner tried to address those concerns before a crowd of about 200 people.

For Ed and Joy Johnson, getting groceries used to mean going down to Bella's Market, but lately, they said that's changed to having to travel nearly an hour to get to a supermarket.

"The local grocery store has had ever diminishing inventory and the inventory they have is often old and spoiled," Ed Johnson said.

Town leaders sought to assure residents that they have not been keeping any other businesses out, such as potential supermarket competitors.

They say town rules prevent them from offering full-on incentives to attract businesses.

"We do not recruit businesses. We do not make decisions of who can come into our community," Limon Mayor Julie Coonts said. "As long as they meet our zoning codes and requirements, they are allowed in."

Town leaders said they are concerned that community dollars are going to other areas, whenever people shop elsewhere.

Bella's Market Owner, Sam Mancini, has owned the store since 2007. He addressed the residents at the meeting and said their supplier had changed the delivery schedule from twice weekly to once a week—and now, once every ten days.

"You have every right to be upset and say, 'dang it! We want out store full.' And I'm here to tell you tonight, we have a plan to get that done," Mancini said.

However, residents said they just want to see the situation fixed now.

"It is sad that we're the largest store in the county and our grocery stores is what it is," Limon resident Joy Johnson said.

The owners of Bella's Market filed for bankruptcy several years ago, but they say that has nothing to do with the supply issues they now have.

Mancini invited everyone at the meeting to visit the store on August 1, when he promised to show them a fully stocked store.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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