WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Word has gone around that the rampant theft and crime may drive out the Giant Food on Alabama Avenue in Southeast D.C.
Shirl Holsey said she’s sick of the violence. The D.C. resident lost her nephew to a shooting last month.
“I’m concerned about crime period. In grocery stores. In our streets,” she said outside the grocery store on Friday.
She said they need this grocery store.
“That means where would we go then?” Holsey said. “This is necessary. We have senior citizens that have no where else to go.”
While Giant officials said that they have no “current plans” to close the Alabama Avenue location, they are concerned about the theft and violence at the store that is “getting worse, not better.” They say it has cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
District councilmember Trayon White Sr., held a news conference on Friday in the store’s lot on the subject. He said regional Giant brass told him in a Zoom meeting that they have grave concerns about staying in the location without the growing expense.
“What we heard was disheartening,” White said. “We learned that this Giant has lost over $500,000 in product loss which is about 20% of its sales after theft.”
White, who represents Ward 8, said that it’s critical to keep Giant open because this is the only grocery store east of the Anacostia River. It serves many people who do not have transportation to go to other grocery stores.
“We cannot afford to hurt ourselves by constant taking from the store because that means that everybody is going to be without a place to eat,” White said.
He said that he has contacted D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office regarding the topic of keeping the store. Her deputy mayor is scheduled to also meet with Giant officials soon.
Ralph Nelson, who has lived in the area since the 1950s, said it was a difficult task to get the grocery store to even come into Southeast D.C. because of the violence in the area.
“I’m concerned because it’s been a long time before we ever had a grocery store over here,” he said.
Nelson said one of the problems he’s seen are people loitering and dealing drugs right in front of the store. He would like to see more police presence to tamp down on the crime, he said.
“Now that the Giant is here, they’ve got to stop all these open air drug dealing and all that,” he said. “That’s what the problem is.”