Kroger is closing two Peoria stores. The Harmon Highway and Wisconsin Avenue stores are closing at the end of the month. The Harmon Highway fuel center is also closing. A statement from the company says Kroger executives have long monitored operations, hoping the stores could return to profitability, but recent evaluations suggest such improvement is no longer realistic.
About 150 employees will either lose their jobs or move to other locations when Kroger closes two of the pair of stores.
Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson says Kroger officials and State Senator Dave Koehler have been discussing alternate uses for the Wisconsin Avenue site.
"Again, no guarantees, but at least we want to be a good corporate citizen and if there’s a way to reuse the building, we want to be part of that discussion." Halvorson said.
Peoria third district councilman Tim Riggenbach wants to be part of those discussions because the closing of the Wisconsin Avenue store will make it all-the-more difficult for east bluff residents to buy groceries.
"When we met with the management of the store a couple of years ago, they told us 60 percent of the people take the bus or walk here so that’s the population that we’re here to protect." Riggenbach said.
Eight other Kroger stores in the Peoria area will remain open. The announcements come during a dangerous cold snap that highlights the store closings. Both store closures will further contribute to food deserts in struggling parts of the community. The North Sterling Kroger that will remain open is about 3.5 miles from the Wisconsin Avenue store. The Bartonville Kroger is about the same distance from the soon to be shuttered Harmon Highway store.