Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Marion Village Market closure stuns residents

By Genine Hopkins

The sudden closure of the Marion Village Market this past Sunday, April 14, at 9 p.m. stunned residents who for months, had heard rumors of the grocery store being purchased by Roger’s in Lake. Rumors floated since late 2023 that the purchase and turnover to Roger’s would take place first by January 1, but the date kept being pushed later and later.
While currently Roger’s has no comment, they did imply they are still potentially interested in the sale going through, but no official dates or offer to purchase have been relayed to Marion Press.
Several residents, who were assured the market wouldn’t close and just waited for the new owner to take the grocery over were saddened to hear of the loss of yet another important business closing in Marion.
A Kiss of Paradise owner Erica Stiles, whose tanning business recently opened next to the local gym, was quite disheartened.
“Any time a local business closes its doors its not a positive for the community,” she told the Press, “A small community like Marion…we are all like family, especially the business owners. I was really hoping that they could’ve found a buyer and we were excited when we heard the rumor that Roger’s was considering that. I feel awful for the workers who lost their jobs!”
Indeed now Marion and surrounding townships like Winterfield and Middle Branch residents will have to drive 20 minutes to Cadillac, 25 minutes to Evart or Harrison, to buy groceries. Many residents do not have transportation or have difficulties driving long distances and will be hurt by Marion Village Market’s closure.
The Village Market was the third iteration of the grocery store since 2012, with Spartan stores Family Fare and ValuLand both occupying the site before the Fife Lake Village Market purchased the store several years ago. The pricing went up a bit – this was before the Great Inflation of the past two years – due to the buying power of the two former owners, but the pricing seemed to stabilize just before the pandemic with the owners finding the right price for area residents.
Almost two decades ago, Marion lost its pharmacy, something that did not go unnoticed when the Together We Can Health Improvement working group began to determine why the Central Michigan Health Department’s counties were ranked near or at the bottom of healthy outcomes for the State of Michigan. Losing access to fresh and healthy foods, as has now happened with the grocer closure, only exacerbates a long time problem. Marion and its surrounding townships and villages – from Redding and Winterfield in Clare County to Middle Branch in Osceola and McBain in Missaukee County – all have poverty levels that tip close to the 20% mark.
While the Marion Village Market may not have been some residents’ stop for the big grocery buys – and that may have indeed helped secure the closure of the grocer – most every resident said for last minute items and to bridge the gap in food between bigger shopping and shopping the market’s sale items, said the store was integral to their access to food.
As Stiles said, “I have a big family so we did the big shops in Cadillac at Meijer or Walmart, but we also regularly made trips to the Village Market as well, especially for sales on meat and produce.
A few soon to be former employees are at the store now, waiting on vendors to pick up goods and helping to clear out the store. By the time of this publication, most of the heavy lifting will have been completed, and the store will remain shuttered until either Roger’s is able to complete its purchase or another buyer is able to purchase the store.

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