GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A longtime staple on Grand Rapids’ West Side is closing its doors.
The Duthler’s Family Foods store on Bridge Street NW will close within the next three or four weeks. The exact closing date is not yet known.
Monique Smith, one of the managers at Duthler’s, told 24 Hour News 8 the owners decided not to renew their lease over financial concerns.
“Leasing and economy purposes,” Smith said of the reasons for the closure. “And people can’t afford, you know, to live in the area. They’re raising rents. I feel sorry for a lot of the families.”
Bridge Street has changed considerably over the past several years, with new businesses sprouting up. Among them is a new Meijer store that’s still under construction.
Smith maintained that the Meijer store is not the reason why Duthler’s is closing. Still, it wasn’t clear how Duthler’s would fit into the neighborhood’s new landscape.
“Once … they make all the changes around, it’s going to be different,” Smith said.
What is clear is that Duthler’s is much more than just a place that sells groceries.
“It’s that connection that attaches me, that makes me feel that this is home. This is our neighborhood,” longtime shopper Sarah Dieleman told 24 Hour News 8.
For Smith, who has been working for Duthler’s for 16 years, the customers are much more than just people who exchange money for food.
“It’s really painful,” she said, wiping away tears. “It’s all family here.”
Another Duthler’s location at the corner of Hall Street and Madison Avenue SE is remaining open.