News spread last week that Square Foods in Cooper-Young would be closing soon. A devoted patron ran an ad on the back page of the Flyer that read: "Save Square Foods. You'll miss it when it's gone. Closing January 31st."
A visit and calls to the store before January 31st indicated that it had already closed. The message on the store's answering machine simply said, "Square Foods is now closed. Thanks for your support."
"We had planned to close on January 31st, says owner Jeanice Blancett, "but when we got to the store on Monday and saw what was left and how everybody's energy level was down, we decided to make it our last day."
In the fall of 2006, owner Blancett moved her natural-foods market from its original site in Overton Square into the space on the corner of Cooper and Young. She hoped that a new and smaller location as well as a focus on prepared foods, the deli, and the juice bar would help the business.
"We didn't have as much traffic as we anticipated and a lot of our Overton Square customers didn't follow us to Cooper-Young because it was less convenient -- parking was more difficult, or they simply didn't know that we had moved," Blancett. says.
"Even in the last few weeks, we had customers walk in who had just found out that we had moved. However, there were also a lot of things that I could have done differently with the concept of the store, especially after we moved into a very restaurant-driven neighborhood. Unfortunately, I ran out of resources before I was able to make any changes.
"Since we announced that we would be closing, I've gotten a lot of e-mails every day from disappointed customers, especially those with a restricted diet who don't have that many options to eat out," Blancett says. "There's definitely a need for a place like Square Foods."
-- Simone Wilson