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Heidelberg residents frustrated with lack of grocery store

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 7:41 PM CDT
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HEIDELBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Imagine if you had to drive 30 minutes just to get fresh produce.

Well, the residents of Heidelberg have struggled with the issues for a couple of years.

Their last grocery store, Greer Market, closed its doors.

One resident says it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

“During the pandemic, it’s been awful trying to go back and forth to Laurel,” Naomi McCullum said. “You have to mask up. Some people don’t have adequate transportation, they have to pay or thumb a ride, just to get simple items.”

McCullum said there is a dollar store in Heidelberg, but that’s not much help.

“If you want to cook a gourmet meal, you can’t buy the stuff here,” McCullum said. “And you’re going to have to run somewhere to get it. If you’re not a farmer, you will not get fresh vegetables.”

McCullum tries to limit her trips to the nearest store in Laurel, and only goes if she’s in dire need.

“Because of the inconvenience of driving, standing in line to get it, and then coming back home, by that time I’m tired and don’t really want to prepare anything,” McCullum said.

Heidelberg Mayor Wilbert Carr says his office has tried countless times to get grocery stores to come to Heidelberg, but nobody wants to bring their business.

“Heidelberg is considered as a food desert,” Carr said. “They are looking at the populations of the city of Heidelberg. They are not looking at the populations of the surrounding areas of Heidelberg.”

Carr says if a grocer decides to come, the city will do everything in its power to make sure they are happy.

“The leasing will be right and everything,” Carr said. “All we want to do, give us a chance and we won’t disappoint you.”

McCullum says the lack of options has had the greatest impact on senior citizens who don’t have reliable transportation.

“They have to pay someone to take them to the store, then try to use their little money to buy their food. Then pay for a ride to get back home,” McCullum said.

She says this is a significant issue because senior citizens make up a large portion of the city’s population.

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