Save A Lot grocery store closing Milford location

The Save A Lot location in the Milford Plaza on U.S. 113 is set to close before Christmas, joining the Dover store, which closed in January. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

MILFORD — By the end of the month, Milford residents will have one less option for their grocery shopping.

The Save A Lot location in the Milford Plaza on U.S. 113 is set to close before Christmas, joining the Dover store, which closed in January.

“We made the difficult decision to forgo our lease renewal for our Milford store and will close this location on Dec. 19,” said Sarah Griffin, Save A Lot’s director of public relations.

“Our employees at this location have been offered the opportunity to transfer to positions in our nearby stores,” she said. Save A Lot’s other local locations are in Seaford and Millsboro, as well as in Greensboro and Salisbury, Maryland.

“We are grateful to our customers and our team members for their continuous loyalty and support,” Ms. Griffin said. “We look forward to continuing to serve customers at our other Save A Lot locations.”

Jim Tancredi, a broker who represents Tsionas Management, which owns the strip mall, said he doesn’t know exactly why the Save A Lot is closing.

“I haven’t a clue really,” he said. “I always thought they did pretty well in that shopping center.”

Mr. Tancredi said the closure was probably due to shifts in the chain’s corporate strategy at a national level.

Some locals, like Puerto Rico-born Harrington resident Pao Mac, were upset about the closure. She’s a big fan of the store and its offerings.

“Their prices are fantastic. Their food is always fresh,” Ms. Mac said. “The store is always busy no matter what time of the day we go.”

Shalon Henriquez, front and her mother Olga Henriquez finished their shopping at Save a Lot in Milford this week.

She said the store has been a boon to low-income shoppers.

“Save A Lot is a discount food store,” she said. “I surmise it’s about 25% less than retail stores.”

Ms. Mac said that if this Save A Lot location closes, she will visit the next closest discount supermarket, Byler’s in Harrington.

In addition to being value-oriented, Ms. Mac said Save A Lot has many of the products she remembers from her childhood in Puerto Rico.

“Save A Lot serves the entire population, but most of their foods are Hispanic and soul foods,” she said. “When my family visits from (Puerto Rico), that’s their favorite store.”

Ms. Mac said that Walmart, where many Milford residents shop for groceries, does not have the same array of Puerto Rican products.

She was not the only one who was upset about the closure.

On Tuesday, Dover resident Olga Henriquez drove down to Milford with 16-year-old daughter, Shalon, in search of a specific kind of flour. She used to get it at the Save A Lot in Dover.

“They closed in Dover, too, so we’re coming here,” the native Honduran said in Spanish.

Ms. Henriquez said she needs this specific kind of flour to make her specialty pastries.

“I tried all the different brands,” she said in Spanish. “The only one that works I buy here.”

Milford’s L.D. Lewis said he was also concerned about the closure.

“It’s going to be a great inconvenience for a lot of people,” he said.

In particular, he noted that the location has been a boon to the elderly and disabled populations who live in nearby apartment buildings and often make their way to the store without the help of a car.

Save A Lot is not the only business in Milford Plaza that has closed recently.

Olympia Sports, Sears Hometown and Gordmans, a discount department store, all shuttered their doors this year. Right now, those three spaces are still empty.

But Mr. Tancredi said he expects all the spots to be filled in the first half of the coming year.

“Milford Plaza is the premiere shopping center in Milford. That’s mainly because of the tenants that have been put in the center over the last five or six years,” he said, like Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and AT&T.

“A lot of the time, because that center is so big, we have to turn prospects away from vacant spaces because the use that they offer is already in place or is restricted by another user who’s already in place,” Mr. Tancredi said.

“We have calls on a regular basis for physical therapy. We can’t place them because there’s a similar user in there,” he said. “We have lots of fitness centers that want to come in, but we can’t do that because Planet Fitness is in there.”

Ms. Mac is hopeful that Save A Lot won’t end up closing its Milford Plaza location. She wants people to call its corporate headquarters at (888) 725-4537 and complain about the closure.

“They don’t seem to have a Spanish line, but I wish all would call,” she said.

Ms. Mac is making preparations to do some grocery shopping at Byler’s in Harrington, while going to Gigante for the Puerto Rican products she needs.

Mr. Lewis, on the other hand, said he doesn’t know where he will shop now that Save A Lot is closing.

“I don’t think Walmart or anyone can stand toe-to-toe with Save A Lot,” he said. “Save A Lot is a lot better than any of them.”