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I.E. city could lose only grocery store

February 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The bad economy is really hitting home for people in the Mojave Desert town of Needles. The possibility of the closing of a Bashas grocery store has many locals worried about where they will get their food. Like many businesses in the current economy, the Bashas grocery store chain has fallen on tough times. The company has decided to close some of their stores in the next couple of months, possibly including their location in Needles.

The problem for residents in Needles is that the Bashas is the only grocery store left in town.

"It's not looking good, a lot of people are scared," said Needles resident Zachary Lopez.

"It's not right. We need to keep Bashas out here, or else what are we going to do?" said Mark Marler.

Aside from Bashas the nearest grocery store is almost 20 miles away. Many people in Needles said getting to that store isn't an option, because Needles offers no public transportation.

"It's going to leave a lot of people looking for places to buy food, and I don't know how we're going to do it," said Monica Hart.

Bashas wouldn't be the first business to jump ship. Last year the local courthouse cut its services, forcing residents to drive all the way to Barstow.

Needles Mayor Jeff Williams said the city cannot afford to keep losing services.

"We absolutely can't lose anymore services, we're hanging on now by the skin of our teeth, we've asked for federal services, hopefully there are some coming, but we can't afford to lose anymore," said Williams.

"Our inability to reach an agreement with our landlord for our underperforming supermarket in Needles forced us to file a lease rejection notice this week," said Bashas spokesperson Kristy Nied in a statement.

"What am I going to do?" said Marler. "I can't afford a cab. Busses don't run. These people here are crippled. What are we going to do?"

Bashas expects to have a decision made as early as next week on whether or not to close the store.