Popular Kearney Supermarket Closing After 25 Years

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KEARNEY, Mo. -- In Kearney, a popular grocery store is closing its doors.

John's Super has been in business for 25 years, but the owner's lease is expiring, and he says he can't come to terms on a new one.

That will leave the city of Kearney with only one supermarket for a town of roughly 10,000 people.

The customer has always come first at John's Super in Kearney. Business will come to an end soon, as John Knipker's store calls it quits. John's Super has served Kearney for a quarter-century, but Knipker says he was unable to reach a new lease agreement with the building's owner, and now, his shelves will go bare.

"God's opened doors and God's closed doors before," Knipker said. "I feel like this is a time to close a door and do something else."

Employees say they've have treated customers like members of their family, and the store as if it's their own. Gail Myers has worked in the store's deli for the past three years. She says she anticipated this change, and now, she's one of 30 employees who'll have to search for work.

"There's people you'll never see again," Myers said. "You're in the customer service business. All the good people you've met here. I've had two or three people say, 'if i hear of a job, i'll let you know'."

Customers like Anne Hart say they shop here because they love the friendly faces around these cash registers. She's here at least once per week to shop and cash her payroll checks.

"I'll miss the atmosphere around here," Hart said. "You don't ever have to take your groceries out to the car. It's strictly customer service. They make sure you're taken care of, and that your groceries are taken out there for you."

When John's Super closes it's doors to customers, the vacancy will leave the city of Kearney with only one grocery store -- the Country Mart about two miles away.

"People hate to see this one go," Myers added. "It's a small store. You can come in and get your milk and run right out. You don't have to go through 12 aisles to get to the front."

"You treat customers the way you'd want to be treated," Knipker explained. "If you don't treat them that way, then they may not be a customer."

And very soon, one of them will be the final customer.

John Knipker also owns a supermarket in Excelsior Springs, which will remain in business. He says the Kearney store will be open through the end of the month. An auction will be held in february to sell-off fixtures from that store.

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