Neighborhood grocery store

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dear Editor,

This letter stems from the Neighborhood Grocery Store being placed within feet of the LaGrange Housing Authority. The grave concern is the advertisements (lottery, cigarettes, beer). There is a similar store/liquor store located 186 feet from this store. Do we need two stores of this nature in the midst of blighted, poverty stricken, dilapidated housing?

The housing authority is concerned because it takes enormous measures to rid the community and our residents from things that are so enticing and harmful to their lives. If the housing authority attempts to rid the community of such problems, why would the city allow stores of this nature continue to be placed in our community?

I use the word allow because Alton West states the application meets the requirements. They just can’t disapprove an application if it meets the requirements. What about considering saving people’s lives? Are all businesses good businesses for our community just because they meet the basic standards of general commercial? Did you know that district 2 is the largest commercial development district within the city? I am sure it’s also the largest area with blight, poverty and stores that sale alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

I was recently interviewed by The LaGrange Daily News on my thoughts about the complaint from the store owner. My words are:

First, Rena Boykin, a housing authority employee attended the city council work session and asked Alton West whether a store was coming to our area, and he said he was not aware of a store coming to the area. Clearly this is a lie as the store applied for the liquor license in August 2017. My staff member attended the work session in February 2018.

Second, on the church not being active, I am not sure who performed the due diligence on the church. All I did was ask a staff member. She called her mother-in-law who attends the church, and she called the pastor of the church (her pastor), and the pastor said the church has been in operation for over 36 years.

Lastly, Rice, the store owner said, “only selling groceries and lottery tickets would not cover them.” I did massive amounts of research on the lottery, alcohol and cigarettes being sold in low income, blighted and poverty-stricken areas that explains how these items target the poor. The poor spend the most money on these items they can’t afford.

Most business owners know this, and that is why they place these types of stores in poor blighted areas. Without alcohol sales, this store would not make a profit — that is a profit off the poor people.

Zsa Zsa Heard

CEO of the LaGrange

Housing Authority