Metro-East News

Longtime grocery chain suddenly shut down, leaving town without a full-service market

Area grocery stores keep closing

Several grocery stores in the area have closed in the recent weeks.
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Several grocery stores in the area have closed in the recent weeks.

It’s the end of an era for Mike Schuette and his family’s longstanding grocery business.

After more than 155 years of serving small towns in Southern Illinois, Schuette Stores Inc. suddenly closed its stores in Troy and Breese. Both stores shut down without warning Thursday.

“Thank you for your generations of patronage for the past 155 years of our family business,” Mike Schuette said in a statement. “Our family has been blessed to have been able to serve the area we love for such a long time.”

In a statement released Friday, Schuette Stores, Inc., and its sister company, Topmost Development Corp., explained that the grocery business had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Mike Schuette mentioned online shopping and home delivery as amenities that have changed the business.

His family owned and operated markets long before Walmart, Target and Amazon got into the grocery business.

Founded in 1863, the grocery business was the oldest continuously family-owned grocery business in the United States. In addition to stores in Troy and Breese, the family previously operated stores in Highland, Carlyle, Troy, Greenville, Belleville, and St. Rose.

In Troy, Schuette was the only full-service market in town. Both residents and employees were surprised to learn of the store closing. Troy Mayor Allen Adomite said he learned of the store closing along with everyone else. He had no idea the store, where he’s shopped for most of his adult life, would close this week.

No one expected to happen this way.

“We think a town of 10,000 can support a grocery store,” Adomite said. “We’re saddened by the loss of the store.”

Adomite said the town will help aggressively market the store in hopes of bringing a new retailer in the area. For now Troy residents, can get a limited amount of grocery items from Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Walgreens. Fresh products can be found in town, too. Troy Produce Patch is open seven day a week at 9070 Illinois 162. Residents can also find meat local butcher shops: Troy Foods Inc., 404 U. S. 40 and Kelly’s Butcher Shop and Deli, 804 S. Main St.

Breese residents still have Hellige’s Super Market-Locker in town but lost the convenience of having more than one market in town.

In addition to losing a place to shop, both towns lost a place of employment. Workers in Troy shared their sentiments about losing the store on social media late Thursday night.

“I’m very emotional because to me this was not just a job, but it was a family,” Connor Vosholler posted on Facebook. “These people have changed my life in so many ways and I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of the 25 (plus) coworkers I have had the pleasure of working with.”

The former Highland market, 1100 Broadway, will soon become a Kloss Furniture store. The new store has potential to result in retention of 22 full-time jobs, according to the city’s Economic and Business Recruitment Coordinator Mallord Hubbard.

Schuette Stores Inc. isn’t the only market in the metro-east to recently close. New Athens Supermarket, located at 1102 Spotsylvania St., closed July 31. Shop ’n Save closed its Collinsville location in August. Tom’s Supermarkets closed recently in Nashville and Freeburg, but the building in Freeburg recently was reopened as a Country Mart grocery store.