Dallas Residents Oppose Possible City Bailout of Store in Food Desert

The city of Dallas invested $2.8 million to open the store in 2016

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There was a celebration the day what’s now called “Save U More” first opened on Simpson Stuart Road near Bonnie View Road in 2016.

That’s because the area was considered a food desert, where residents had to drive miles to find a full-service grocery store. Many of the people who live in the area rely on public transportation, making a long trip with groceries difficult.

“Today there is no fanfare. Today there is no drumline,” community activist Claudia Fowler said.

She and other neighbors gathered outside the store Monday to complain about the talk of a city bailout for the struggling store.

The city of Dallas invested $2.8 million to completely renovate the location and open the store.

“Where did all of the money go and when did the city get into the business of bailing out grocery stores and failed businesses?" activist Eric Williams said.

These residents claim the current property owner would be rewarded for failing to live up to expectations.

“That's using our tax dollars again. He doesn't deserve any more of our tax dollars,” activist Subrina Brenham said.

Brenham once ran a business in the same shopping center.

She and other critics claim the store owner intentionally let stock run low so people would choose not to shop there, making a city bailout seem more necessary.

“We have plenty of customers here. They don’t have the product,” Brenham said.

Former Dallas City Council member Erik Wilson joined the critics Monday. He said money given to the developer has not been used wisely. He pointed to an unfinished fence that was supposed to help provide security for the site.

“I think they should hold the individuals to the fire,” Wilson said.

Current city council member Tennell Atkins said the city’s priority now is to see that a grocery store stays available to neighbors at that site. Atkins said talks were underway about how to make that happen and protect the investment the city has already made in the property. He said nothing is final yet. 

The store is still open and a visit inside Monday showed stock appeared to be very low in all areas of the store.

Employees on duty at the store Monday declined to comment. Efforts to reach the owner were unsuccessful Monday.

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