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Thursday, March 23, 2023

More residents weigh in on Ocala/Marion County’s grocery shopping options

Several residents recently submitted letters to further discuss the topic of grocery shopping options in Ocala/Marion County.

“I read the letters by residents requesting more grocery stores and I felt the need to put my two cents in. First of all, all the complaints should have been considerations before choosing a location to live. You should have researched the area before you moved there. You want grocery stores built near you in a county where growth is already out of control. These grocery stores provide hundreds of part-time, minimum wage jobs that will do nothing but increase homelessness in your area. A grocery store employee cannot pay rent when he or she only makes $250 a week because of the lack of affordable housing in this town. People are ready to make demands without thinking of the consequences. Something to chew on,” says Silver Springs resident Colleen O’Brien.

“I’m in agreement with a previous letter regarding grocery shopping in Marion Oaks. From the junction of Route 200 and 484 (taking 484) all the way East to 441, there’s not one grocery store except the antiquated Winn-Dixie, which is way off 484. Publix has a monopoly in Florida. Why? There are so many other possibilities; i.e. Harris Teeter, Ingles, and several others. They dangled the “major grocery chain” carrot in front of us just to pass the distribution center at 20th Avenue, and then all of a sudden pulled it when it passed. Typical political ploy maneuver. So here we are, driving one way for 10 to 15 miles just to grocery shop. Ridiculous. So, you people that sit on the appropriate boards at city hall, I wonder: does your household help drive that far to get your groceries? And I hope you include an extra stipend for gas along with wear and tear on the car, because we don’t have that luxury,” says Gail Defrancesco, Ocala resident.

“Again, so many letters from residents wanting, wanting, wanting. Perhaps an explanation of how businesses are developed would be in order. Demographics drive the development, tax dollars don’t build grocery stores. I’m afraid that nothing will suit. With an Aldi seemingly on every corner, the problem is taking bags. With the many farmer’s markets and grocery stores in the area, there are many choices. Our grocery stores in the area are clean and well maintained. And now there are many choices for delivery as well,” says Weirsdale resident Debi Jaynes.