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Owners of Leon's Thriftway calling it quits after more than 50 years

Leon's Thriftway
Posted at 4:53 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 18:04:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After more than 50 years, a locally family-owned business is calling it quits.

Leon's Thriftway plans to close its doors by the end of the week.

Customers that have been getting their groceries there for decades are shocked.

"As long as I've been living in the neighborhood, I've been shopping here," Willie Watts said.

"I've been coming here 44 years, so this is family," Adeina Thomas said.

Monday, the store was open but inside the shelves were bare.

"It's heartbreaking and we really wish that we could find some type of way to keep this going because we love it here," Thomas said.

Leon's Thriftway opened in 1969 in the Seven Oaks neighborhood on 39th Street in Kansas City.

"I'm somewhat sad, but I do have to realize that some things do come to an end, even good things," Thriftway manager Vernon Stapleton said.

Stapleton's father opened the store, beginning what would become the family business.

"We love it, my whole family grew up here," Stapleton said.

The store fell on hard times. Stapleton said they had trouble keeping up with other grocery stores in the area.

"We just didn't adapt to the changes that we needed to, to be competitive in the market that it is today," Stapleton said.

Long-time customers and neighbors were sad to hear the news.

"Losing this would be like losing a family member," Thomas said. "It's not just a store, it was like a pilar for us around here."

Leon's Thriftway is the most convenient store in the neighborhood.

"It was good for the neighborhood," Watts said. "You have a lot of people living in this neighborhood that don't have transportation, and that's really going to hurt them."

As much as Stapleton and his family would like to keep the store open, he said it would take a lot of work and money. He said the building would need to be renovated or rebuilt.