Editorials

Can't expect a local grocer if you buy in the next town

Shoppers react to the closing of Tom’s Market in Freeburg

Freeburg resident Gene Vonderheide explains how he'll be affected by the closing of Tom's Market.
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Freeburg resident Gene Vonderheide explains how he'll be affected by the closing of Tom's Market.

If you want a full-service supermarket in your community, you need to expect to pay full price. If you want to save a dime, you can — but you might lose a quarter.

Tom's Market is giving up in Freeburg and Nashville, Illinois. Owner Don Norrenberns said he can't compete with the nonunion places such as Target, Aldi and Walmart.

So Freeburg and Nashville residents may find themselves driving to Belleville or a larger neighboring town for groceries. Or they may find a nonunion grocery store moving into the spaces Norrenberns eventually vacates.

Maybe you don't care, but maybe you do.

Those union workers paid taxes and spent their salaries in the community. The store paid taxes and collected sales taxes at a rate linked to their prices. It will take gasoline and time to get to the other stores. Churches are organizing to get groceries to the elderly and homebound.

Taken all together, those small costs add up. Those bargain prices may not be such a great deal for your community or for you if you ever figure out all the hidden costs.

Or they may be. That's the beauty of a system that lets you decide whether price or service or convenience is most important to you.

Just be careful you don't drive to that neighboring big-box retailer with a "buy American" bumper sticker, or tell your Facebook friends you support unions and a $15 minimum wage if you vote with your dollars at the low-cost leader.

That unemployed checker from Freeburg just might call you out.

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