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Dillons to close two Wichita stores

WICHITA, Kansas - Dillons announced on Monday that it will close two stores in Wichita later this month.

The stores are located at Harry and Broadway and at 13th and Woodlawn.

Sheila Lowrie, a spokeswoman for the company, says the stores will close July 19th.

The decision to close came down to an inability to expand and meet customer demands for higher-end amenities.

"With these two store locations, the size and the location really make it impossible for us to provide those options to our customers," she said.

Shoppers are worried about having to go farther to get groceries.

"It's going to add to your gas bill, that's for sure," Spencer Lindsay, a shopper, said. "Usually one of our guys gets on a bike and runs right up the street and grabs some groceries, so it's going to affect us dearly."

"Yeah, it's so convenient to have it right up the street, and now, you have to go clear across town," shopper Dawn Kail added, referring to the Harry and Broadway location.

The nearest Dillons location to the 13th and Woodlawn store is a mile away, while at the Harry and Broadway site, the nearest Dillons is now three miles away.

Experts also worry about reduced access to healthy food. The Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita <a href="http://findyourfitwichita.com/food-study.pdf">studied</a> this last year, finding that almost one-fourth of Wichitans live in what's known as a food desert, a low-income urban area more than a mile away from the nearest grocery store. It makes transportation a more important consideration for shoppers.

Some people that are unable to have access to a grocery store that don't have the transportation options end up shopping at other areas, and sometimes healthier foods are even more expensive in those types of stores," Becky Tuttle, with the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita, said.

While the Harry and Broadway site is in one of the study's food deserts, the 13th and Woodlawn location is adjacent to another. Tuttle says shoppers will need to adjust.

"If you live in an area that you've gone to your grocery store for years, it's close to you, it's convenient to you, it's really changing your lifestyle, and it's making it less convenient for you to have access to healthy foods," she said.

Employees at both Dillons stores will be offered positions at other stores in Wichita.

Back in 2008, Dillons closed stores at Central and Oliver, Meridian and Douglas, 13th and Waco, and Lincoln and Hydraulic.

 

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