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As Pathmark shuts, Camden (New Jersey) loses its last supermarket
The Inquirer at Philly.com ^ | September 7, 2013 | Suzette Parmley

Posted on 09/07/2013 12:32:12 PM PDT by beaversmom

As patrons approached the glass doors of the Pathmark supermarket in Camden on Friday, a security guard turned them away.

"We're closed," said Dan Graves, 59, who has been working security for 18 years for the company that owns Pathmark and Super Fresh stores. "There's nothing left inside."

But that didn't stop the steady stream of cars, trucks, and those arriving by bus or foot in the supermarket's parking lot throughout Friday in what took on the air of a wake.

Many said they were misled by the large "Store Closing" banner out front, thinking they had one more day. Some longtime employees gathered in clusters outside and embraced as if they had just lost a loved one.

Reality eventually began to sink in: The neighborhood icon and social gathering place was shuttered for good.

"I have a lot of memories here," said Camden native Antonio Zapata as he slowly walked back to his truck after being waved off by Graves.

Zapata, 21, began going to the Pathmark at 2881 Mount Ephraim Ave. with his parents when he was 5.

"I remember coming here when I was just a boy," he said as he turned to give the store one more look.

Zapata had come Friday to use the Bank of America ATM inside to get cash, as he had done countless times.

"Now I have to go somewhere else," he said, "probably another B of A [machine] on Route 70. Kind of far."

The supermarket's closing cut much deeper for Ursula Hardy, 53, of Camden. She started working there at 22. Her first day was Sept. 18, 1983. Her last day was Thursday as a part-time clerk making $20 an hour with full health benefits.

"I've never been unemployed," said the mother of five.

But beyond the steady paycheck, "I'm going to miss the customers, especially the older people," Hardy said. "Many of them needed help reading their debit cards, or counting their money, because their vision wasn't very good, or they'd need help walking back to their cars. . . . I can't tell you how many funerals I've been to."

While Hardy spoke openly about the store's closing, she said employees were advised by the owners not to discuss it on social media.

"We were family here," Hardy said. "Of course we're sad. A lot of us started working here when we were kids."

It was announced two months ago that three Pathmark stores - in Camden, Cherry Hill, and Edgewater Park - would close. Parent company Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) cited underperformance as the reason. A&P also owns Super Fresh.

The closures are just the latest in what has become a steady downsizing by several local supermarket chains.

A Super Fresh in Haddon Township that Kimberly Foster frequented for 20 years closed this year, which is why she had made the Camden Pathmark her main place to shop. She lives in Collingswood and works as a property manager in Camden.

"I would get everything here - dog food, fruit, and meat. It's very disheartening that these stores are closing everywhere," said Foster, 50, as she was turned away Friday from the Pathmark.

A total of 355 employees worked at the three closing Pathmarks, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The Camden store employed just over 100.

Security guard Graves said the store was virtually emptied out by Thursday, thanks to a "90 percent off" sale two days earlier when "everything started disappearing off the shelves."

All that remained was picked clean by Thursday's 9 p.m. closing time, leaving only a carcass Friday. He said Bank of America had removed its ATM, surveillance camera, and equipment.

Only employees were allowed inside Friday.

"We had a little going-away party for everybody," said Graves, who is being transferred to other Pathmarks and Super Freshes in Philadelphia. "We'll have to see what happens.

"Sometimes one door closes and another one opens," he said.

"That's what we told the employees today." No lease has yet been signed for the site in the Fairview section. Officials have been showing it to other potential grocery stores now that the city's only full-service supermarket has departed.

Residents will have to wait two years to get another - a ShopRite expected to open in East Camden in 2015. That will provide some relief in a city many parts of which are considered "food deserts" under federal standards.

For William "Wally" Wallace, the store's closing means losing his favorite sanctuary. He has sat in front on a folding chair every day except Sunday for 15 years. Like clockwork, he'd arrive at noon and leave by 6:30 p.m., before it got dark.

On Friday, he had a bag of popcorn that he fed to the birds and drank from a soda cup. This was theater for the 77-year-old retiree.

"I'd come out here and sit and see people I hadn't seen in years," he said. "They'd remember me cutting their hair when they were young boys. It would make me feel good."

Wallace owned a barbershop for 40 years at Seventh and Clinton Streets in Camden. He now lives at the Lutheran Senior Citizens Residence in Pennsauken.

"The residence has a patio in the back," he said. "I can maybe sit there during the summer.

"But I hope when another store moves in, they'll let me sit out here again."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: New Jersey; US: Pennsylvania
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1 posted on 09/07/2013 12:32:12 PM PDT by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom
Her last day was Thursday as a part-time clerk making $20 an hour with full health benefits.

I think I see the problem.

2 posted on 09/07/2013 12:35:30 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (When your policy is to rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on enthusiastic support from Paul.)
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To: beaversmom
The supermarket's closing cut much deeper for Ursula Hardy, 53, of Camden. She started working there at 22. Her first day was Sept. 18, 1983. Her last day was Thursday as a part-time clerk making $20 an hour with full health benefits.

I have no idea why they couldn't make a go of it and had to close.

3 posted on 09/07/2013 12:35:35 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Henceforth, the Office of the President shall be known as IMPOTUS)
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To: beaversmom

This whole story is racist.

Even the black ink was chosen for a reason.


4 posted on 09/07/2013 12:39:15 PM PDT by LyinLibs (If victims of islam were more "islamophobic," maybe they'd still be alive.)
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To: beaversmom
Elect DemoRats and watch your city die.
5 posted on 09/07/2013 12:39:41 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: beaversmom

6 posted on 09/07/2013 12:40:04 PM PDT by LyinLibs (If victims of islam were more "islamophobic," maybe they'd still be alive.)
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To: LyinLibs
Even the black ink was chosen for a reason.

ROTFLOL, made my day!

7 posted on 09/07/2013 12:40:55 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: beaversmom
Crime-Ridden Camden To Dump City Police Force

It looks like Camden is collapsing much like Detroit.

8 posted on 09/07/2013 12:42:03 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: beaversmom

War Zone...


9 posted on 09/07/2013 12:43:24 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

“I think I see the problem.”

she started in 1983, what’s the problem?


10 posted on 09/07/2013 12:43:30 PM PDT by max americana (fired liberals in our company after the election, & laughed while they cried (true story))
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To: max americana
Full health benefits on a part-time union job paying $20 an hour at a grocery store.

Costs drove them out of business.

Working at a grocery store should be an entry-level job. You shouldn't work at a grocery store all your life unless you move into management. Turning entry-level jobs into "living wage" jobs is why we have no jobs being created.

11 posted on 09/07/2013 12:47:20 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (When your policy is to rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on enthusiastic support from Paul.)
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To: beaversmom
That will provide some relief in a city many parts of which are considered "food deserts" under federal standards.

Cue Sam Kinison...

12 posted on 09/07/2013 12:51:01 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

She worked there 31 years. Whats the problem?


13 posted on 09/07/2013 12:52:52 PM PDT by BBell (The Blue Dog is Stupid)
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To: BBell

Unions.


14 posted on 09/07/2013 12:54:21 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (When your policy is to rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on enthusiastic support from Paul.)
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Some comments at the link:

Posted 9:51 AM, 09/07/2013 I am stunned that a city filled with Democrats would be a disgusting mess. — ignorantlefty

Posted 10:23 AM, 09/07/2013 Think about it they close a lot of stores in urban and fringe area’s because of losing money a lot has to do with shoplifters and the profit margin is so small that they lose in a hurry. — angrywhtguy

Posted 12:35 PM, 09/07/2013 they couldn’t afford to hire enough security guards to stop all the shop lifting going on so stop your crying do you expect companies to stay open while the people shopping there steal more than they buy, why do you think there are no stores in high crime areas don’t you get it high crime areas anybody that would open a store there would have to be nuts — topdog1

Posted 1:29 PM, 09/07/2013 This is what happens in inner city neighborhoods because the Dems don’t work and can’t pay for goods or services. THey then turn to crime. Dems destroy schools and neighborhoods. — Ghettodelphia


15 posted on 09/07/2013 12:54:26 PM PDT by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom

The closed store is across the road from Save a Lot and about a mile from Wal-Mart.

Stores come and store go, and the people still have places to pick up a carton of milk or can of Spam nearby.

I’m sure this is a milepost for those who worked at Pathmark and the few customers who really like this store- but tastes change and Wal-Mart and Save-a-lot probably offered better prices. I don’t see this as much of a disaster for the community, or even a sign of Camden’s deterioration. (not saying its not deteriorating, just that this doesn’t show it)


16 posted on 09/07/2013 12:55:57 PM PDT by I_Like_Spam
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Don’t forget to add the problem of shrinkage.


17 posted on 09/07/2013 12:56:03 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (I’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
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To: beaversmom
Here it is on Google Street View. Hope and change, baby.
18 posted on 09/07/2013 1:03:36 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Let me guess, it was unionized?


19 posted on 09/07/2013 1:05:10 PM PDT by matt04
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To: Jack Hydrazine
Don’t forget to add the problem of shrinkage.
It CAN be a problem.

20 posted on 09/07/2013 1:05:20 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: oh8eleven
Oh, common I was in the pool, I was in the pool!

5.56mm

21 posted on 09/07/2013 1:07:26 PM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: I_Like_Spam

Save a Lot isn’t a supermarket? I do most of my shopping there or at Aldi’s.


22 posted on 09/07/2013 1:07:33 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (Mark Steyn: "In the Middle East, the enemy of our enemy is also our enemy.")
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To: beaversmom

Was surprised that Camden had any stores left. Even the cops don’t want to go in there.


23 posted on 09/07/2013 1:15:50 PM PDT by SkyDancer (A white woman would be accused of racism if she gave birth to a white baby.)
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To: SkyDancer

Camden has cops? Didn’t they lay off half of their police force a while ago?


24 posted on 09/07/2013 1:17:30 PM PDT by matt04
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To: I_Like_Spam
mmmmmmmmmmmm... Spam Bacon
25 posted on 09/07/2013 1:18:08 PM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Costs drove them out of business.

No doubt. But how much of those costs were simple pilferage?

26 posted on 09/07/2013 1:28:02 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: matt04; SkyDancer

I’m surprised Camden still exists.
Didn’t they used to have shipyards?


27 posted on 09/07/2013 1:28:54 PM PDT by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: 17th Miss Regt

Not to mention the insurance premiums?


28 posted on 09/07/2013 1:29:14 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: I_Like_Spam

I’ll bet that Liquorama is doin OK...


29 posted on 09/07/2013 1:29:27 PM PDT by NativeSon ( Grease the floor with Crisco when I dance the Disco)
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To: beaversmom
A few Camden stats:

1st in the nation in violent crime per capita.

Population (77,300) has declined 12% since 1990.

19.6% unemployment rate.

The average household income is $18,007.00.

The public schools spend $23,770.00 per student.

That school spending figure is shocking. For an elementary school class of 22 students, that would be $522,940.00.
30 posted on 09/07/2013 1:31:54 PM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: beaversmom
Are you kidding? Things are great in Camden.

(Maine)

31 posted on 09/07/2013 1:32:49 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: I_Like_Spam

I grew up in Merchantville which is a nice suburb a few miles from Camden. You learned quickly not to go to the local supermarkets, a shop n’ bag and a Thriftway, on the first of the month. Busloads of people from Camden with fresh government checks would fill those places up because there were virtually no supermarkets in Camden back then. That’s 30 years ago. Not a new issue.


32 posted on 09/07/2013 1:35:01 PM PDT by pepsi_junkie (Who is John Galt?)
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To: Travis McGee

Oh wow! Now that Camden looks visit worthy! Very pretty.


33 posted on 09/07/2013 1:41:32 PM PDT by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom

Did this chain (and perhaps this store) make the list of the worst supermarkets in the country?


34 posted on 09/07/2013 1:46:29 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: beaversmom
Its not Unions, its not high wages, its not Democrats. There are plenty of unionized Democrat cities that are not complete hellholes. Some European cities are practically communistic but they aren't post-apocalyptic.

Camden has a 3rd World population that can only maintain 3rd World conditions. Amenities of a 1st World civilization, like supermarkets, are beyond their means. Without county, state, and federal aid (White tax money) Camden would have ZERO working infrastructure or basic government services.

Grocery store work on razor thin margins and "shrinkage", i.e. theft from 3rd World customers and 3rd World employees, at these stores was too much to bare. The ShopRite chain is pretty successful in the surrounding areas so the costumers in those stores (White people) will be making up for the shrinkage at the new Camden store.

35 posted on 09/07/2013 1:48:04 PM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: dr_lew
Here it is on Google Street View. Hope and change, baby.

I wonder how the DD across the street is doing.

36 posted on 09/07/2013 1:48:39 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: beaversmom

Prettiest little harbor town I have ever seen, bar none. You can walk from one end to the other in a half hour, and every view is a postcard. It’s one of the towns in Maine where you go to get a ride on a schooner.


37 posted on 09/07/2013 1:52:07 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Steve_Seattle

Figure 200 student in an elementary school, so almost $47,000 per elementary school per year. I just bet there quite a few union jobs at the central office.


38 posted on 09/07/2013 1:52:21 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: beaversmom

Did this chain make the list of the worst supermarkets in the country?

Yep, found it. Number 1 - poor on service and cleanliness, mediocre on quality and price.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Media/Slideshow/2012/04/13/12-Worst-Supermarkets-in-America?page=10


39 posted on 09/07/2013 1:53:28 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: Travis McGee

Wow, sounds and looks super lovely.


40 posted on 09/07/2013 1:53:28 PM PDT by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom

It really is. It was a late “discovery” at the end of a recent vacation, and we vowed to go back.


41 posted on 09/07/2013 1:56:24 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

Is that your pic?


42 posted on 09/07/2013 1:57:07 PM PDT by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom
That will provide some relief in a city many parts of which are considered "food deserts" under federal standards.

"Food desert" turns out to have a lengthy Wikipedia article. Who knew?

Of course, studying the problem at that level just leads to band-aid solutions that ultimately make the problem worse.

43 posted on 09/07/2013 1:57:53 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: Travis McGee

Beautiful picture. Looks like its taken from a balloon.


44 posted on 09/07/2013 2:00:01 PM PDT by freedom1st
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To: Maine Mariner

OOPS, $47,000,000 per elementary school


45 posted on 09/07/2013 2:02:10 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: oh8eleven

LOL!


46 posted on 09/07/2013 2:08:33 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (I’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
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To: Vince Ferrer

Camden is worse....


47 posted on 09/07/2013 2:16:10 PM PDT by SC_Pete
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To: beaversmom

How much is due to crime?


48 posted on 09/07/2013 2:16:56 PM PDT by I want the USA back
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To: Count of Monte Fisto

>Camden has a 3rd World population that can only maintain 3rd World conditions.<

.
(Sigh)

The blessings of America’s diversity and “strength”.


49 posted on 09/07/2013 2:29:23 PM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not say whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: beaversmom
As long as the L I Q U O R A M A next door stays open I don't think we'll have a problem... ;')
50 posted on 09/07/2013 2:41:06 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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