Petition forms to boycott BI-LO following Charleston closure announcement

Petition forms to boycott Bi-Lo following Charleston closure announcement

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston man has started a petition to try to boycott all BI-LO stores.

This comes after an announcement was made to close the downtown Charleston BI-LO store on Meeting Street. That store is expected to permanently close on Oct. 5.

With the loss of BI-LO, there will only be two groceries stores on the downtown peninsula.

On Tuesday, signatures started coming into an online petition to try and encourage people to boycott all BI-LO chain stores.

"We want to boycott all BI-LOs, not just the downtown store, but every BI-LO chain," William Hamilton said.

He said he started the petition after hearing people complain about not having anywhere else to go and shop.

"I heard somebody say the other day it's only a mile to the food lion on upper king street. Well, a mile is a long way when you're lugging 40 pounds of groceries." Hamilton said.

Janie Smalls-Cobbett lives in downtown Charleston and relies on the bus system to take her to and from the store.

She said if this BI-LO closes, it will cost her more money to get groceries.

"That would mean I have to catch two buses to get there," Smalls-Cobbett said. "That means I have to catch a cab coming home because I can't take my groceries on the bus."

With the lack of stores, people are also worried the prices will increase at competing groceries stores.

"Being able to shop at BI-LO because it's more centralized has definitely been a benefit. Harris Teeter's harder to get to in a more congested area and an upscale area so so some of the prices are a little higher," Cyrus Kimini said.

"I think the Harris Teeter might raise their prices because it's the only grocery store down there and you don't have any completion," John Mellony said.

Among other concerns, people are worried the lot BI-LO sits in will add to downtown's tourism market.

Kimini said people are being outclassed and pushed out of downtown. He said he worries about what will replace the current store.

"I guess we'll be losing a chunk of variety," Kimini said.

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