Decision to close Midtown Sweetbay in St. Pete, hits hard - WFLA News Channel 8

Decision to close Midtown Sweetbay in St. Pete, hits hard

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The Midtown neighborhood Sweetbay store opened with all kinds of hoopla in November of 2005. It's very existence came after years of hard work on the part of St. Petersburg city leaders who hoped, a new Sweetbay market would be the beginning of a revitalized neighborhood providing essential services to an area in much need of an economic boost.

But large signs at the main entrances to the Sweetbay, inform shoppers, its days are numbered with the store closing before Valentine's day. Patrons are upset. "I live right around the corner. It's very convenient. We fought for this" said Janice Huntley. Sadie Camon said she watched the struggle to get a grocery store to the area. "This neighborhood. This is one of the pieces that put it together, so what's going to happen to an empty building?"

Sweetbay company spokespeople say, the decision to close the Midtown store and 32 others across Florida, is a business decision, and stores chosen for closure are the ones that are not performing, or turning a profit.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster says the people making the decisions are out of state, and weren't here to see the struggle it took to get Sweetbay to build in a neighborhood where unemployment and low wages are a constant problem. He's hoping for a change of heart. "I intend to spend the next couple of weeks trying to work with Sweetbay and see if we can't get them to reverse to decision" said Foster.

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