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Save A Lot closure to impact Butler residents with limited transportation

Save A Lot, the city’s only grocery store at 300 Pullman Square, is expected to close Saturday, Feb. 24, according to multiple employees who asked not to be named. Steve Cukovich/Butler Eagle

Residents of Butler and Butler Township who shop at Save A Lot at 300 Pullman Square, will soon have to find a new source for groceries, as the store is expected to shut its doors Saturday, Feb. 24.

Save A Lot is situated just within the Butler city limits and Mayor Bob Dandoy said he was surprised and disappointed by the news, as it will impact those with limited transportation.

“We are struggling now in the city,” Dandoy said. “We are a food desert, and we are trying to find at least one grocery store to come that is within walking distance of most of our residents or a short drive.

“I myself would shop there. I like the store and it's certainly going to be missed.”

Katie Cothron, public relations and community engagement manager at Save A Lot, confirmed Tuesday, Feb. 20, that the store was closing. The Feb. 24 date was given by a number of Save A Lot employees who asked not to be named.

As of Wednesday, there were no signs posted at the store indicating the store’s closure or any word of the closing on the store’s social media accounts.

“We take the decision to close any Save A Lot location very seriously,” Cothron said. “Recently, the independent licensees who own and operate the Butler, Pennsylvania, store made the difficult decision to close the location. We recognize the impact this store closure will have, and are exploring ways to continue to serve the Butler community.”

Butler Save A Lot is owned by Horizon Management based in Boardman, Ohio, which manages five locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to previous Eagle reports.

Dandoy, who learned of the closing through Facebook community chatter, said there are no plans to bring a new grocery store to the city at this time, but it has become a top priority of his.

“We will help in whatever way we can,” Dandoy said. “We would be open to listening to any offers or propositions from any grocery store that would like to locate within the city limits.”

Tommy Cyphert, a Save A Lot customer, said he walks to the store regularly from his home on Mercer Street and explained he was shocked by the closure news.

“Wow with a capital W,” Cyphert said. “I have always saved money and shopped here. It's a great place, hardly ever busy, but maybe that’s why it’s closing.

“I will miss the convenience, the atmosphere and friendliness. You just feel at home.”

Sandra Curry, executive director of Community Partnership, 122 McCune Drive, which manages the Butler County food bank, said it’s too early to tell what kind of impact the closure will have on the food bank.

“I don't think we would see anything immediately — I suspect we will though,” Curry said. “I don't know who uses Save A Lot and who doesn't.

“It usually takes about a month for things like this to trickle down into the pantry system. When the SNAP benefits decreased it took two to three months for us to see that reflected in our numbers.”

The nonprofit does a needs assessment every three years, Curry said, and the topic of affordable food options was near the top of the list on the previous assessment.

“This was before inflation and before our food bank numbers went up,” Curry said. “Save A Lot I think offered individuals downtown a more affordable food option. I think it will decrease the amount of affordable food in the city.”

Curry said the food bank distributed about 674,000 pounds of food in 2023, and she has seen the number of people served fluctuate since the summer and into this year.

“It went down in December to about 10,000 clients and it looks like we are about the same for the month of January,” Curry said. “We were at about 15,000 in September of last year.”

To learn more about Butler County food pantries, visit www.yourcapinfo.org/pantries, or call Community Partnership at 724-766-9029.

Save A Lot, 300 Pullman Square in Butler on Wednesday, Feb 21. Steve Cukovich/Butler Eagle

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