Store Owners Say Nearby Construction Is Forcing Them to Close Up for Good After Nearly Two Decades

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark -- Owners of a popular Central Arkansas grocery store and deli said their worst nightmare has come true ... they are closing their doors for good on Friday after nearly two decades.

The North Little Rock business sits along MacArthur Drive, but construction is overtaking most of the business's customer parking and owners said it's cutting into their money.

Since 1999, Sandy Runions has been part owner of 'The Gettin' Place' in North Little Rock.

"It's my life right now," said Runions.

But after nearly 18 years, the staple in the community is closing up shop for good.

"It's hit very hard," said Runions.

The Arkansas Highway Department is widening MacArthur Drive and replacing part of a bridge near the store.

"The traffic is going to come where the cars are parked," said Runions.

The project end just short of Runions' front door, leaving her customers no place to park.

"This little area is all that I have," said Runions.

Mostly bare shelves can be seen inside the store.

"To everyday customers and consumers, they drive by and they think everything is rolling and going like it used to but it's not," said Runions.

A harsh reality of the 40 percent in revenue Runions said the store has lost since construction began.

"Tough ... tough," said Runions.

Debbie Palmer has been coming to the store since it opened. She said it's like losing family.

"We come in. We pick at each other, we laugh," said Palmer. "We ask about sick parents ... grandchildren. We share everything" said

Both she and Runions dread the day it all comes to an end.

"Of all the bridges in this  city ... in this county ... in this state," said Palmer. "Why'd they have to pick the one that was going to put a small business, mom and pop, community store out business."

"I don't want to give up," said Runions. "I don't want to but I don't see a way to survive."

The state highway department said it owns the road up to where the parking lots sit. Officials said the store knew the project would be coming.

Runions said she is not sure where she will work after the store closes.



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