SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Advocates for families struggling to keep food on the table are calling the latest closing of another Sioux Falls grocery store “terrifying.” The owner of Andy’s Affiliated Foods, a fixture in the Hilltop neighborhood on the city’s east side, is retiring and will be closing his store in a matter of weeks. This comes just three months after the closing of the Hy Vee at 10th and Kiwanis.
Jan Viereck is one of Andy’s Affiliated Foods most loyal customers. She’s been shopping here for nearly 60 years.
“We hate to see it close. It’s a wonderful store, friendly people, wonderful meat, the best meat in town,” Viereck said.
But the closing of Andy’s means shoppers, especially those on limited budgets, will have one less option to purchase their groceries.
“It’s kind of terrifying, when we’re looking at a community that we have so many people living on the edge in Sioux Falls, this just makes the edge come a little closer,” Sioux Fall Thrive President Michelle Erpenbah said.
No longer having a grocery store within walking distance adds a further financial burden for families who’ve relied upon Andy’s for decades.
“It’s not necessarily a food desert per se, but it is reducing accessibility for people who are truly in need in this community,” Erpenbach said.
Andy’s owner said he held off retiring until he was able to sell the property he owns next-door for this new Dollar General so his customers would still have access to staples like bread and milk. But customers say it won’t be the same without Andy’s in their neighborhood.
“The Dollar General carries some things. But still, you just don’t have the same as you have in a local neighborhood grocery store,” Viereck said.
That neighborhood connection is important to shoppers like Viereck, who will soon have to venture beyond their neighborhood for groceries, and say goodbye to the store that’s been so close by, for so long.
Andy’s offered a grocery delivery service for homebound customers in the neighborhood. Active Generations’ Workers On Wheels program will take over that service when Andy’s closes.