Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The small local grocery store in Rochester's East End will be closing later this month.
The owner of Hart's Local Grocers confirmed Monday afternoon that the store will close on March 24.
After making a series of changes to streamline the business in late 2017, Glenn Kellogg, president of Hart's Local Grocers, said Hart's had its most profitable year yet. But declining sales hurt the business to the point of closure.
Hart’s Local Grocers is very sad to announce we will be closing our doors for business on March 24th.
We opened with great optimism for downtown Rochester in 2014. Planned new development held hope for our success. Through four years we attempted to manage our budgets within the market we established. Last year we made a progression of changes to streamline our operations and had our most profitable year yet. However declining sales has left us unable to make ends meet. We have searched for a new owner operator with no avail, and regret that Rochester’s downtown grocery store must close.
We believe that we created a very special place for Rochester. Hart’s was named after a historic Rochester brand with a vision for a modern downtown lifestyle. Looking to the past and projecting on the future, we imagined a livable neighborhood with daily services for its residents. We think we built a piece of that vision.
Thanks to all the neighbors who supported our business over the last five years. We’re proud to have served you and hope we made your life a little more convenient, perhaps brought a smile to your face, and we hope you enjoyed the greatest regional foods Rochester has to offer. Thanks to our employees whose hard work, cheerfulness and customer service defined the Hart’s brand and truly exemplified the Spirit of Rochester.
Hart’s will have a close-out sale the week of March 18th. Please drop in and say goodbye.
"It's always sad to see a local business go down," said Oliver Haynes, a customer.
He said he shops at Hart's at least five times a week.
"The people that run this took a big risk to start a local business and I think it's really important that we are thinking on a local level," Haynes explained.
Haynes said when he was thinking about where to move, this neighborhood on the east end made the most sense due to a local grocery store being nearby.
Customers like Marcus Avery Kramer depend on having Hart's open.
"I don't have a car, so this is kind of the big spot for me to get groceries," he explained.
Hart's first opened in downtown Rochester in August 2014.
Experts suggest mom and pop shops get creative with their marketing strategies and the things they sell in order to stay open.
"[They] have to have some kind of atmosphere, a vibe, a reason for going for an experience, because you can do that online," said Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, President of Rochester's Downtown Development Corporation.
She said the concept of retail in general has changed dramatically with the way we shop.
"The 'Amazon-ification' of the world has changed everything that we order a lot online, even people ordering their groceries online," she said.
Zimmer-Meyer said the timing of Hart's closure is unfortunate.
"There is going to be so much demand coming in the next year to two, and I think that kind of business would have been a tremendous anchor," she explained.
She said more and more people have been moving to the area over the years.
The grocery store will have a final close-out sale during the week of March 18.
City of Rochester Communications Director Justin Roj released the following statement to 13WHAM:
The City worked with Hart’s and our government partners to bring the grocer to our community, and we are disappointed to hear of its closing. As a result of the Inner Loop East project, numerous developments are blossoming in the East End, including Charlotte Square, the expanded Strong Museum, and the new Redd Rochester restaurant, we remain excited about the future of downtown and the ongoing investment throughout our community.