After serving the Battlement Mesa community for more than 25 years, City Market announced it's closing its store there at the end of the week. While a new store is slated to open soon, residents say they're frustrated they'll be left without a grocery store until it opens.
Making her way down the aisles, Hope Perrine and dozens of other Battlement Mesa residents learned Tuesday they'd be taking one of their last ever trips to City Market. Signs posted around the store let customers know the pharmacy would close Saturday July 18 and the rest of the store on Sunday July 19.
"I don't know why that would happen," said Perrine.
City Market officials say they don't know either, learning last week that they'd lost their lease.
"It was quite a surprise to us too," said Phyllis Norris, President of City Market. "It really is a disappointment for us."
The Battlement Mesa Company, who develops and leases the land, says they'd been in negotiations with City Market for some time to extend that lease.
"We were unable to come to a mutual agreement on terms," said Eric Schmela, President of the Battlement Mesa Company. "As a result of that, their lease is ending at months end."
Schmela says Battlement Mesa has already leased that space out to a new grocery store called Clark's Market -- a smaller, Basalt based chain he says has been mischaracterized as a more expensive, all organic seller.
"They will provide some organic products just like City Market did," said Schmela. "Otherwise, they will provide a full range of products that everybody here is used to purchasing."
In addition to the grocery store, Clark's Market is contractually bound to open a pharmacy.
"It is absolutely critical that we make sure that [the pharmacy] was part of the grocer," said Schmela.
Schmela says until City Market moves out and the new store owners get to see what kind of renovations they'll need to make, it's not clear when Clark's will open -- which means for weeks or possibly even months residents will have to make the 15 mile trek to Rifle for all of their food and medicine needs.
"It's gonna be a great inconvenience for all the people who live here," said Perrine. "That's certainly going to be difficult for a lot of the elderly people."
City Market says it will do all it can to help residents get their prescriptions during that transition.
"If they need us to mail those prescriptions we're very willing to do that because we do that out of that pharmacy," said Norris.
The chain also says it will work to transfer it's employees to other stores in the area.
"We really need them to stay with us," said Norris.
Battlement Mesa says City Market has been a great community member throughout the years -- and they're confident Clark's Market will be one too.
"When they see the change, I think they will be pleased with the improvements Clark's is wanting to bring to our community," said Schmela.