LONG BEACH, Calif. — Long Beach resident Latoya Tyson — who has frequented her neighborhood Food 4 Less market for years — was shocked to find out the grocery store would be closing. 

What You Need To Know

  • Hero Pay in Long Beach has officially increased grocery store workers pay by $4.00 per hour

  • A Food 4 Less and Ralphs in Long Beach will be closing in April in response, as Kroger said business will not survive

  • An employee at Food 4 Less is disappointed with Kroger's decision, and worries for his bills as the closure approaches

  • Locals that have frequented the market for years are disappointed to lose their community store

“Food 4 Less has been around for so long. I do not know why they would close it down. I just feel sorry for everybody that’s going to lose their jobs, have to find new jobs, figure out how to make ends meet,” Tyson said.

Kroger Corporation announced it would close Food 4 Less, on South Street, and Ralphs — on Coyotes Diagonal — because the City of Long Beach required grocery stores to pay employees and extra $4 an hour. The "hero pay" is an effort by the city to further support frontline workers who continue put themselves at risk through the pandemic.

Kroger has stated they are closing the stores based on business survival, with grocery stores operating on slim profit margins. The closures are expected to impact nearly 200 employees, and while Kroger stated it would attempt to help transfer associates, job layoffs are a possibility. 

“It’s crazy for them to even shut something down when we are in a pandemic. I don’t know why they say they can’t afford it or anything, because so many people come to this store,” said Tyson.

An employee, who asked Spectrum News 1 not to reveal his identity, said he is already looking for another job because of the pre-existing financial hardships of COVID-19.

“It’s not right for other people to be going through the things they’re going through, to have to close. What about our bills? What about everything we have to pay?” he said.

The City of Long Beach has stated it will step in to help employees through the city’s workforce arm, but for the neighboring community that relied on the lower grocery prices at Food 4 Less, the transition will be difficult.

Loyal customers can continue to grab their groceries from Food 4 Less until it officially closes on April 17.