May 7, 2024 - News

Kroger faces backlash from residents over Atlanta store's conditions

photos showing a partially eaten fruit on a shelf and raw biscuit dough on the floor at an Atlanta Kroger.

Partially eaten fruit and raw biscuit dough were found when residents toured Kroger on Metropolitan Parkway on Sunday. Photos: Zach Adriaenssens

Kroger says it will make improvements to its southwest Atlanta store amid concerns from residents who want the company to make changes before they support its request for a new alcohol license.

Why it matters: Residents said the store at 2685 Metropolitan Parkway for years has been plagued with fruit flies, dirty bathrooms and trash strewn in the parking lot and inside the building.

The latest: Kroger Atlanta Division President Victor Smith last week sent a letter to community members, saying the store will address "many areas of concern," including more frequent cleanings and ensuring produce and products are fresh.

  • Other concerns raised by residents "may take additional time to address, but the work is in the process of being scheduled," he said.
  • The store's interior will soon be repainted, and the bathrooms will be updated, Smith said.

The other side: After receiving Kroger's letter, a group of customers asked to tour the store with Kroger leadership but were told "they would not meet with us," said resident Zach Adriaenssens, who has been pushing for Kroger to improve the store. So, they decided to tour the store themselves.

What they found: Photos taken during the tour on Sunday and shared with Axios show several items out of place, dried liquid underneath where fresh meats are put on display, and an empty pint of ice cream where packaged doughnuts are sold.

  • "I don't know what the excuse was, but the store was just not in good condition on Sunday," Adriaenssens said.

Catch up quick: Several residents spoke in opposition of Kroger's application at the License Review Board's April 23 meeting, citing the store's condition.

  • The application was initially deferred to May 21, but a spokesperson for Kroger told Axios the meeting date was changed to tonight due to "scheduling conflicts."
  • A new license is needed because Kroger underwent a change of agent.

The big picture: A report released last year by Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health shows majority-Black and low-income neighborhoods in Atlanta have less access to fresh produce than higher income neighborhoods and communities that are non-majority Black.

What's next: The License Review Board meets at 5pm on Tuesday in Committee Room 1 at Atlanta City Hall.

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