Albrecht Foods Racine, which operates the Sentry grocery store at 5740 Washington Ave., will permanently close in January.
About 60 people will lose their jobs, according to the notice Albrecht Foods sent Mount Pleasant on Wednesday, as required by state statute. The anticipated last day of employment for all affected employees will be Jan. 11. The state Department of Workforce Development has not yet received the notice.
Employees were notified of the closing on Wednesday.
Greg Schilz, general manager of the store, said that because of the economy the store had struggled for several years, but with Walmart being built across the street they couldn't remain open.
“Racine has been very slow to recover,” Schilz said. “We never really got off to the start we intended and needed to be a viable business. We’ve been struggling and now with the addition of Walmart in an already overcrowded market place, we had to make a very difficult business decision.
“We appreciate the opportunity to have had a store in Racine. We’re sorry this didn’t work out and that we couldn’t provide a healthy, viable entity for our employees.”
Jody and Sunday Muniz own Nutritional Designs & Pharmacy inside the store. On Facebook, they assured their customers that while they will need to find a new location, they have no intention of closing.
Late last night we were notified that Sentry Foods will be closing their doors January 11, 2013. As this is terrible news, rest assured Nutritional Designs & Pharmacy remains passionately committed to remaining ambassadors for the local community, with regards to Pharmacy and Wellness Solutions. Although Sentry's misfortune affects us, we are a strong, vibrant company and have NO intentions of closing. We will continue to posts updates as our strategic planning allows.
The intersection of Highways 20 and 31 currently has three grocery stores—Sentry, GFS Marketplace and Piggly Wiggly—and a Walmart Neighborhood Market is expected to open next year on the fourth corner.
In May, Patch reported that a market study commissioned by owners of the local Sentry and Piggly Wiggly stores said the new Walmart "would eventually prove fatal to both The Pig, Sentry and, potentially, the Pick-n-Save on Rapids Drive."
“I was at every one of the meetings where Walmart was on the agenda and spoke at most,” Schilz said. “The biggest hurdle was rezoning, and I asked them not to vote and they did. That became the hook they needed to get the store.”
Albrecht Foods also owns a Sentry store in Delafield, which will remain open.
UPDATED Novemeber 9, 2012 at 10:22am:
“It is a sad situation and we will miss all the nice people at Sentry,” stated Pharmacist and Owner of Nutritional Designs Pharmacy in Mount Pleasant, “but we are a strong and vibrant company and I am confident we will stay in the immediate area.”
Recent news of the closing of Sentry on Washington Avenue has hit many people hard in these challenging economic times. And for Sunday and Jody Muniz whose business currently resides within the grocery store, it may sting that much more.
Muniz says they have been caught in a crossroads but will likely find a new home in Mount Pleasant. And the possibility of staying in the same location has not yet been ruled out. Truth is, no one really knows what is going to happen at this point. Within 24 hours of the announcement, the Munizes met with their business consultants for many hours to strategize and examine their options.
“We are here to serve our customers and community. We will not abandon all the people who come from all over for our services. We want to make sure there is very minimal disruption to our customers,” says Muniz, “Our goal is to stay in Mount Pleasant if possible.”
Jody Muniz also expressed great appreciation for all the overwhelming support they have received from their customers via phone and Facebook. He gives his sincere gratitude.