Janesville grocery store to close; officials worried a food desert is growing even larger

Janesville grocery store to close; officials worried a food desert is growing even larger

Maurer’s Market on Janesville’s Milwaukee Street will close for good when all available items are sold.

According to the store’s owner, Jeff Maurer, the east side grocery store was losing money.

“Our expenses exceeded our sales,” Maurer said. “I was personally funding the losses. I got to a point where I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Maurer said nearly three dozen employees, nine whom are full time, will lose their jobs.

“I feel terrible for them,” he said. “I feel terrible that it’s this time of the year. It’s just not a good situation.”

Maurer says his biggest concern is the seniors who relied on home delivery from his store to get their groceries.

“Now they’re going to be forced to drive a much larger difference. Especially as we go into winter, that’s not the best thing for the lot of them,” he said.

Following the closure of the Pick-N-Save on Janesville’s south side, residents have voiced their concern about the lack of available produce and fresh meat. City leaders say with the closure of Maurer’s, the issue will only get worse.

“You have a large food desert now between the entirety of the south side not having a full-line grocery, now the entirety of the east side does not have a grocery available,” said Gale Price, the city’s economic development director.

Price and Maurer both say finding another grocer to move into the soon-to-be empty space will be a challenge.

“Our citizens need to support local businesses in order for them to be profitable and remain in the community. No one can keep open on a philanthropic basis,” Price said.

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