Residents of LeClaire learned last week that Slagle Foods, their only full-service grocery store, is closing as its owner eyes retirement.
Paul Slagle, who owns the store with his wife Lynda Slagle, announced the closing to his employees Sept. 23. Their store in northwest Davenport is not effected, he said.
"The time is right and it's a first step toward retirement," he said in an interview. "It's been a great run. The people of LeClaire have been fantastic and we really have enjoyed being out there."
The store has been a part of LeClaire since 1965 when Slagle's parents, Harold and Sue Slagle, opened the store in downtown LeClaire about three years after they opened their first store in Davenport. The family built the current LeClaire store location at 1301 Eagle Ridge Road in 1993.
Paul Slagle, 64, has worked in the family business since graduating from Iowa State University more than 40 years ago. After his father's death in November 2012, he bought his brother out of the LeClaire store. He and his wife, who is a registered nurse, already had owned the Davenport store for a few years.
He said the closing will impact about 15 employees.
City Administrator Ed Choate said the next step is something the city will have “to figure out.”
Asked about recruiting another grocery store, he said “We’ll have to sit down and talk about it. Talk with our chamber. Talk with our economic development committee and see what their thoughts are and what direction they want to go."
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LeClaire Chamber President Kathy Anderson was saddened at the news.
A regular shopper since she moved to LeClaire eight years ago, she said "I've gotten to know the employees and wish them nothing but the best in this transition."
"We're very grateful to the Slagle family. They have had a presence in LeClaire for many years," she said. "As a community, many of our families have been shopping there and now their children are shopping there. They are really going to be missed."
Anderson said the chamber looks forward "to the future and hopefully bringing another grocery to our growing population."
Slagle said he sold the store's building a year ago to LeClaire businessman Austin Nelson, who has been leasing it to Slagle Foods. A Subway restaurant, located inside the grocery store, also will close, he added.
"It's just time," Slagle said, adding he plans to operate the Davenport store a few more years. "We're taking this opportunity to move ahead to the next phase of our life. I've made noises (about retiring) for a couple years. I'm not going to be doing this when I'm 100."
Slagle Foods has begun a closing sale.
"We thank the people of LeClaire for supporting us all these years," Slagle said.