At the age of 71, Ashleyville resident Louis Brown Sr. no longer drives, so he walks to the Food Lion on St. Andrews Boulevard just about every day to buy groceries.
That’s about to change, as the store gets ready to shut down in February.
The lack of a walking-distance grocery store is going to mean some tough adjustments for car-less residents who live nearby in West Ashley. But not far away in the southern part of North Charleston, the lack of a nearby store has been a fact of life for 7 years.
That section of North Charleston has been a so-called “food desert” since a Winn-Dixie at the Pinehaven/Shipwatch shopping center closed in 2005. “When they closed down the Winn-Dixie, people had to go pretty far,” said Michael Green, who lives within walking distance of the now-vacant shopping center. “We really need a grocery store.” Those without vehicles rely on buses, cabs, or friends for grocery shopping. “I can’t get on the bus with a lot of groceries,” said Veter Price, who like Green was waiting for a bus on Dorchester Road Tuesday.
As West Ashley residents were taking advantage of the Food Lion’s going-out-of-business sale Tuesday, community leaders in North Charleston were meeting with a grocery industry consultant about how to attract and sustain a full-service store to that city’s southern end.
Grocery chain operator and consultant Jeffrey Brown says that with careful planning and appropriate subsidies, stores can thrive in struggling urban areas. Brown operates 11 ShopRite stores in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, mostly in poor neighborhoods.
Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier. Follow David Slade on Twitter @DSladeNews.