The Pryor Times

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October 17, 2013

No more stores for north Pryor residents

PRYOR, OK — Residents in north Pryor are running out of convenient options for food and fuel as Homeland prepares to move to its new location.

Earlier this year, Homeland announced its intention to relocate the store to the former Walmart location at Ninth Street and Highway 69.

For Etheline Carter, who rides her motorized chair to the grocery store several times a month, the change will prove difficult.

“There’s no way I can ride all the way to the new store,” Carter said. “Now it’s going to be very difficult to get what I need.”

Carter lives alone and no longer drives.

“I’ll have to arrange rides just to get a quart of milk,” she said.

Her concern and frustration is shared by many residents who live on the northeast side of Pryor.

Thomas Layton is one of them.

“First we lose Fisherman’s Friend, so I have to drive across town to get a gallon of gas,” he said. “Now Homeland is leaving, so I’ll have to go all the way to the edge of town to get any groceries. There’s nothing convenient about it.”

Layton, who lives near the hospital, said the closest convenience store without crossing the highway is Hook’s. Hook’s is located next to Arvest Bank on Highway 69.

“I can travel the back roads and not have to cross the highway, but it’s still a drive to get there,” he said.

Carter said the only saving grace for her is the expansion of Dollar General to include more grocery items.

“I guess I’ll just ride farther to get there,” Carter said. “If they don’t have it, I don’t guess I’ll be needing it.”

Both Carter and Layton said they are not against progress, but can’t help feeling left out.

“I understand Homeland wants to be on the highway to better compete against Walmart, but Highway 20 is a highway too,” Layton said, adding that Dollar General will ultimately reap the benefits. “I think the downtown store will definitely see an increase of business.”

Layton said the situation is a Catch 22.

“We will have to drive farther to get food, which will take more fuel,” he said. “Of course, you’d better get fuel while you’re across town, because there’s nowhere closer to home to fill up.”

Dollar General has made major changes in the past several years to expand grocery selections. Coolers offer shoppers basic grocery items including lunchmeat, eggs, cheese, milk and frozen dinner items. The company also sells cigarettes.

Dollar General District Manager Terry Cadwell said stores began expanding the grocery section around two years ago.

“Both Pryor stores have greater grocery options,” Cadwell said.

Cadwell said there are no plans for the downtown store to go anywhere anytime soon.

“We want to be the ‘go-to’ store,” he said.

Layton is fine with that.

“I understand it probably makes good business sense to move the grocery store to a higher traffic area, but I won’t be making the drive across town unless I absolutely have to,” he said.

 

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