Contact: Marie A. Casey or Marie L. McGeehan at Casey Communications, Inc., 314/962-0944.
September 14, 2000
St. Louis Clergy Leaders and Schnucks Form Community Partnership
To Keep Schnucks Store Open at Delmar & Kingshighway
ST. LOUIS --- A community partnership was formed late yesterday between Schnuck Markets, Inc. and St. Louis religious leaders to save the Schnucks store at Delmar and Kingshighway from closing this Saturday, Sept. 16.
Schnucks officials and the executive board members of Congregations Allied for Community Improvement (CACI) and the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition agreed to work as partners to build sales at the store over the next six months in an effort to continue the store’s service to the community.
Schnucks executives agreed to meet with religious leaders to explain the company’s decision to close its Downtown store at 10th and Cass and its Delmar & Kingshighway store, both of which serve city residents. The clergy appealed to Schnucks to reconsider its decision.
“After a spirited and respectful discussion of our community’s needs, we were elated and grateful for the opportunity to partner with Schnucks to sustain and revitalize our community with the continued operation of the Delmar & Kingshighway Schnucks,” said Rev. Sylvester Laudermill, Jr., president of CACI. The interdenominational group consists of 18 churches in the neighborhood surrounding the store.
Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., president of the St. Louis Clergy Coalition, said, “Schnucks showed an extraordinary willingness to listen. It is with great relief and encouragement that we forge this
unprecedented partnership between our community churches and one of St. Louis’ finest corporate citizens.”
“In our thorough discussion, we were convinced of the regrettable but inevitable failure of Schnucks’ downtown store,” Nance added. “Schnucks warmly welcomed our involvement in ensuring its free shuttle service will meet the needs of our community members who will be losing a store in their neighborhood.”
The interdenominational St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition represents 70 churches in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and East St. Louis.
Laudermill and Nance said both groups will meet with area churches and neighborhood organizations to rally support behind shopping at the neighborhood Schnucks store. “We plan an all-out blitz in the immediate community served by this Schnucks store,” Laudermill described. “With the support of our combined 88 church congregations, we hope to help Schnucks succeed and sustain its store at Delmar & Kingshighway long into the future. We want to help Schnucks grow in the City of St. Louis, and we understand its need for more customers and greater sales to achieve our goal.”
Schnucks officials asked to meet regularly with leaders of both organizations to monitor progress toward keeping the store open.
“We appreciate the opportunity presented to us by CACI and the Clergy Coalition for a full and open dialogue regarding our store closing decision,” said Craig D. Schnuck, chairman and chief executive officer of Schnucks. “We’re pleased to have such resounding support from these community leaders who are willing to help us serve our customers in the community.”
Scott C. Schnuck, president and chief operating officer, added, “Our discussions with St. Louis religious leaders helped us understand that our decision took community members by surprise. The commitment they expressed for rallying support among local residents to shop at their neighborhood Schnucks store is worthy of our best mutual effort.”
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