NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Frattaroli’s Sparkle Market in New Middletown is in danger of permanently closing its doors, which would only add to the list of empty grocery stores in the area.
The store has been in the community for 18 years, and is a convenient place for neighbors to purchase their food. Owner Tony Frattaroli says that lately, the store hasn’t been getting as many customers as it used to.
He requested community support and on Saturday, neighbors responded with a cash mob.
A cash mob involves a group of people getting together to make purchases in order to boost sales. Frattaroli says this help really makes a difference.
“It’s just because the bigger stores are just overcoming all the smaller stores, and it’s hard for one single store to make it in the business these days.”
This is not just an issue for Frattaroli’s Sparkle Market. Several local grocery stores have shut down in the Valley recently, including the IGA store on McCartney Road in Youngstown, which will close on March 12.
“If this store shuts down, you’re either going to have to drive to Boardman or to Poland, because there really is no other store in this area,” Frattaroli said.
About 50 people came out to buy groceries and support Sparkle.
“I don’t think we would realize how much we’d miss it if it wasn’t here,” said Susan Scenna, who helped organize the cash mob. “This is a convenient place to be. They will help you with anything you need, it’s right here in the store.”
Scenna says it’s important to support local businesses.
“You have to shop locally, you have to keep things local, employ local, keep things rolling in your own community. The best thing we can do is give back to our community and make sure that we’re feeding it economically, and just even being good people and good neighbors to our local stores.”
The community’s support is shedding some light on a dark situation for Frattaroli.
“It makes me feel good inside that people still want to help us out and are still coming out for us.”
He says there is not a set date to make the decision on whether or not the store will close. Frattaroli is hoping this is just a bump in the road, and will continue working to keep it open.