In light of grocery giant Kroger announcing their divestment from the Lucky's Market chain – and Monday's announcement that Earth Fare will be closing completely
– supermarket employees in Orlando have been left reeling from the impending loss of their jobs.
spoke to a Lucky's store manager in the Orlando area who expressed her love for the chain, and disappointment that the doors will soon be closing. To her, the biggest source of her dismay was seeing all of her and her colleagues' hard work seemingly vanish.
"Most of these employees were here since we opened the store a year ago, so it's really sad to just kinda see everything that we spent all this time putting together being taken down a year later."
Wishing to remain unnamed for this story, she added that the first week of February would have been her store's one-year anniversary.
As the closures of Lucky's stores
continues until Feb. 12, approximately 2,500 employees will be laid off by the end of the store purge. Thankfully, the store manager assured us that many in the community – from big retailers and small businesses – have extended a helping hand.
"The community's been awesome. [Companies] have brought us literature, they’ve come in here and just wanted to talk to our employees about employment opportunities, so ... that’s been a blessing."
Aside from outreach from the local community, Lucky's Market corporate representatives have aided in helping employees transition, according to the store manager we spoke to.
"A lot of the stores have had representatives coming in, doing on the spot interviews ... and just setting up shop in the cafe and talking to anybody that wants to talk to them. That’s been really cool.”
In terms of the abrupt nature of the announcement of the store closures, the store manager could not help but describe it in one word: "Shocking."
"I mean, we saw things but none of us expected this, honestly. I mean, maybe some stores we thought might close, but we thought that enough would still be able to float." said the manager. "This was a complete shock to everybody."
Despite the manager's admiration for a store that's been her home base for a year, she revealed that sadness wasn't the only thing employees felt.
"We’re all just sad. There’s a little bit of anger because of how everything went down, but mostly it’s just sadness."
It is her hope that somebody would "swoop in and take the idea and be able to reopen the stores, maybe under a different name," referring to major grocers Publix and Aldi, who are currently under contract
to purchase Lucky's Market leases in Florida.
No matter what, the manager says she will always cherish her time spent working for Lucky's.
"I’ve never had a job where I bounced out of bed and I’m happy to come into work," said the manager. "I’m just so thankful that I got to work here, it’s an awesome experience. We’re all gonna stay in touch after this, like I said, we’re a family."
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