June 5, 2017
Thomas Lenkevich, President
Giant Food Stores
P.O. Box 249
Carlisle, PA 17013
Kevin Holt, Chief Operating Officer
1149 Harrisburg Pike
Carlisle, PA 17013
Dear Mr. Lenkevich and Mr. Holt,
As the President of Lancaster City Council, I’m writing to you again on behalf of City Council concerning Giant's closure its store at 235 North Reservoir Street, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
We are sending this letter with feelings of frustration and disappointment.
As you are aware, Giant closed its Reservoir Park supermarket on May 17. The abrupt closure came a day before the previously announced closing date. Long-time customers and employees arrived at the store to find plywood over the doors and windows. This situation is jarring for all of us in Lancaster.
It is obviously unsettling for the neighborhood residents who have walked to that store for nearly four decades and who now must find another source for food. But, it was also unsettling because it is unrepresentative of Lancaster. We are not a City of boarded-up storefronts. We are a vibrant community much more accustomed to ribbon cuttings and ground breakings than to closures. That you fail to recognize that shows how little you actually know of Lancaster.
As we stated in our earlier letter to you – which brought no response, many people in Lancaster City’s east side do not own automobiles. Whether by choice or economic situation, they do not drive. They will not travel to your suburban stores. You undoubtedly know this already. The shuttle buses you are providing to your other stores are leaving Reservoir Street mostly empty. You have lost them as customers.
As a businessman, we are sure you recognize the benefits of a quick sale of the property. Doing so will provide you with capital for other investments. Conversely, retaining the property will only bring the headaches and ongoing costs of utilities, taxes, and near constant maintenance of the older building. If the building is not properly maintained to City Code standards, that brings the cost of fines and legal expenses. Ultimately, a building will have a lower sales value the longer it is left vacant.
In our prior letter, we implored you to sell the Reservoir Street property without restrictions. Selling to another grocer will not cost you sales or customers. You have lost those already. But, it may help resurrect Giant’s corporate image in Lancaster. To deny a food source to the people who have supported you for so long is unconscionable. The prompt sale of the property is simply the right thing to do.
John E. Graupera
Click here to view a signed copy of the letter.