In response to recent letters that voiced concerns on the amount of grocery stores in Ocala/Marion County, several residents wrote in to share their thoughts on this topic.
“As one of the many seniors and residents west of I-75 in the northwest area of Ocala, I want to voice my opinion about the abusive high prices that Publix has, taking advantage of being the only food store in our area. I’m a senior citizen on a fixed income and it’s a shame that I can only afford to buy a few things at this store. Where are our taxes and those from all the new corporations opening in Ocala going? We demand our local government to look into this and provide all of us with options when it comes to prices and access with less distance to drive,” says Ocala resident Lou Betances.
“I read recent letters as if it were coming right out of my own mouth. I have lived in the northwest area for a few years and I have been waiting with great hope and anticipation for someone to realize that opening more grocery stores and/or eateries in this area would be quite the lucrative venture. I was heartbroken when they closed Winn-Dixie but always thought something would replace it. Instead, now Dollar has also shut down, giving us even less options. Like the others, I am tired of having to go across town to eat and/or shop. I, too, am extremely frustrated with the scooter carts at Walmart. Having recently had back surgery and being Hemiplegic, I now drive to the Walmart on 484 & 200 (they have plenty) just so grocery shopping won’t require two days of bed rest. I know the growth of Ocala well since I’m a real estate agent here. I keep waiting for the businesses to catch the wave and the realization that consumers don’t all live on College Road,” says Claire Casseus, Ocala resident.
“A Costco would also be nice. Maybe consider a grocery store with specialty items. Where I previously lived, we had a store called Oliver’s and it was a beautiful place to shop with amazing produce, a meat and seafood department with specialty cheeses, and wine and all the accessories. The bakery department was out of this world too with fine bakery items to tempt the senses. A real specialty store would be a winner,” says Ocala resident Maria Shahi.
“We need more grocery stores here in Ocala as well as Anthony. I feel like we have one general store – Publix – and it’s a monopoly. We have some Aldi’s around, but it’s way out in Silver Springs or it’s way out on 19th Avenue. They don’t even give you bags; you’ve got to bring your own. This is real sad. We the people of Ocala need less taxes and more grocery stores,” says Sharon King, Ocala resident.