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Kroger closes
Leaves Lakeland just shy of 20 years
No More Kroger 1 Jd
Philip and Cindy Michaels shop Tuesday at the Lakeland Plaza Kroger. The Cumming store closed Wednesday after nearly 20 years of business. - photo by Jim Dean

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Kroger in Lakeland Plaza closed its doors for the last time.

“It is very sad, because it’s very convenient,” said Valerie Jenkins, who’s been a regular shopper at the store since it opened in 1990.

“Every time I have come in here, it has been packed,” she said. “I have never seen it not packed, so I really don’t understand why it’s closing. But I’ll miss it.”

It’s closing, Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins said, because sales declined over the last several years.

“Closing is never easy, but certainly this particular location has experienced declining sales and a negative profit for over a period of time and we certainly had to make some decisions to operate more efficiently in our region,” he said.

There are several other Kroger stores in the area, including on Bethelview Road and Freedom and Peachtree parkways in Forsyth County, and a new location slated to open today in nearby Sugar Hill, just across the Chattahoochee River on Hwy. 20.

All 80 associates at the Lakeland Plaza store were “offered gainful employment at our other Kroger locations,” Jenkins said.

“It’s pleasing to know during these challenging economic times, that we’re able to offer employment opportunities to associates,” he said.

Nonperishable goods were sent to surrounding stores after the local site closed Wednesday, Jenkins said.

Perishable items were sold at a markdown during the store’s final days, drawing customers like Philip and Cindy Michaels, who were just passing by and saw the closing sign.

“We thought we might find some good deals,” Philip Michaels said. “We usually shop all over... . We shop for items, not by store.”

Jenkins said of Kroger’s nearly 20 years at the Lakeland site, “We do have some memorable moments. It was a very difficult decision that we had to make.”