For nearly 68 years, Johnny’s Market has been ringing up groceries in south St. Louis County. Over the years, the store, located near the corner of Gravois and Sappington, has become known for its crab drip, the meat department, and a large liquor selection.
But Debbie Loeffelman, 61, the daughter of the original owners, told the store’s 30 to 40 employees earlier this week that she can no longer afford to keep the store going amid declining sales, an aging customer base, and competition coming from all sides.
“You can buy food anywhere now – unfortunately,” she said, noting that everyone from the Walgreens across the street to convenience stores now sell some groceries. “And a lot of my older customers in the neighborhood have died in the last year.”
The younger generation has a different lifestyle, she said. For one, they are more used to shopping at chains like Schnucks and Shop ‘n Save.
“And they don’t cook necessarily,” she said. “They don’t sit down for a meal at 5 o’clock the way I did growing up.”