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Battling The Big Evil Corporate Giant Monster
A The321.com Exposé
By Damian Dunn

The sign says it all.
Local mom and pop grocery stores everywhere are fighting for their life. Today these small operations are crumbling under grocery giants like Kroger and Publix. Even the regional mid-sized chains, which are substantially well equipped for the fight, are disappearing. Survival is a hard-fought battle.

Ed's IGA at the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont has been around forever it seems. It's sister store on Lavista road has existed for the same eternity. Many people agree with Bethany Lipscomb, a resident at Overlook Assisted Living Home, "Ed's is that grocery store just down the street, where the cashiers know you by name and the freezer section seems a little thawed out." When you make it through the barely working automatic door (installed in the mid '80s to keep with times) you are greeted with the familiar smell of Grandma's house. Often times the produce seems infested and the meat is out of date. Aisles are not neatly stacked and are poorly organized. It's not unusual to find household-cleaning products sitting right next to children's cereals. Admittedly, Ed's has its imperfections, but its honest charm and character keep the locals coming back.

Ed's is entering a new Millennium. Currently Ed's is undergoing a massive reconstruction. What brought
Ed and Ben Brown
this on? Why... why are they doing this? But, will Ed's still be Ed's? Ben Brown, an employee for two months, explains, "We're trying to keep up with the big chains, but the mom and pop feel will remain." With the sister store on Lavista closing down early this year, there has been increased traffic, not to mention rampant fears that this Ed's is not far behind. Ed's is renovating to show that they will not succumb to the same fate as the Lavista store. As part of the overhaul, scheduled to finish by end of the summer, shoppers will notice expanded shelf space, new floor and wall tiling, and completely renovated freezer and produce sections. In addition the following are being installed: new cash registers, a new beer cooler (with doors), a fresh ground coffee dispenser, a prank section (see more in Ed's Purchase of the Week), and a whole aisle of dollar deals. In this day and age grocery store theft is as common as the West Nile virus. To keep a close watch on its suspicious customers and provide a Safe Shopping Environment (SSE), Ed's is constructing an elevated security command center. "These additions to the store are testimony that we care about our customers and will do everything possible to make their experience pleasant and safe. We've implemented SSE as a store-wide policy," says storeowner, Ed.

Ed's is in a constant struggle for life, while the opposition (Evil Kroger and Mean Publix) throw money and shelf space around like they're nothing. Everyday Ed's must fight to keep a dying tradition alive.
Ed's is gone. What will take its place?