Local News

Raleigh nonprofit gets gift card refund ahead of Krogers' closings

Posted December 6, 2012

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— When Kroger announced last month that it planned to close two of its Raleigh grocery stores, the Women's Center of Wake County was left scrambling after purchasing $3,500 in Kroger gift cards to distribute to needy clients.

When the two stores shut down in mid-January, the nearest Kroger will be more than an hour away by bus, plus nearly a mile and a half walk, one way, according to Jean Williams with the Women's Center.

The center, which helps women and families with basic needs such as food and support, contacted the grocery store chain, explained the situation and asked for a refund. Williams received a simple email reply: Refunds are not allowed.

"It's clear that nobody gave it any thought," Williams said. "That's a lot of money that we really need to be able to utilize with these families."

Williams contacted WRAL News, which then contacted Kroger's public relations department. Within moments of WRAL's call, division management reversed the earlier decision.

"Per our refund policy, we do not traditionally refund gift cards purchases, as all Kroger gift cards can be used at stores throughout the Triangle," Carl York, advertising and public affairs for Kroger, said in a statement. "Given our commitment to the Southeast Raleigh community for the past 10 years, we recognize that the situation is unique and should be addressed outside of our standard policy."

"Once division management was informed that the Women’s Center of Wake County wished to refund their gift card purchases, we immediately took steps to rectify the situation," York added. "We want to continue to support the community of Southeast Raleigh that has been affected by the store closings, and we very much value the work that the Women’s Center does in Wake County."

The Women's Center says it is happy with the decision.

Meanwhile, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and members of the City Council are working on a letter to send to the Ohio-based company asking it to reconsider closing its stores on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and New Bern Avenue.

City leaders and residents say they are concerned about the local economy and about the ease of access to food for the community.

Southeast Raleigh is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a "food desert," an urban low-income area where the poverty rate is at least 20 percent and at least 33 percent of residents have low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.

18 Comments

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  • Marty King Dec 11, 11:45 a.m.

    The MLK Kroger is a dump, good thing it is closing.

    The few times I have been there, I was panhandled once in the parking lot, twice inside the store and some crackhead asked me for a ride in the baked goods aisle.

    If any of you guys ever go there before they close, go into the back left area and be amazed by the huge selection of 40oz malt liquors.

  • skipp2 Dec 7, 12:16 p.m.

    There is a reason for the closings- the stores are losing money. Whether it is theft, throwing out fresh food that goes bad because it isn't purchased. low sales, etc.. With other obvious shopping options close by, I wonder why the mayor wants to get them to stay open. Granted there is some employment there but those folks can find work fairly easily in the retail world.

  • cynda-ur-way Dec 6, 4:57 p.m.

    There is a Kroger on the corner of six forks and Wake forest rd. An hour bus ride is standard on most CAT buses.

  • southerntalent Dec 6, 4:48 p.m.

    Really,the one on new bern is old and outdated and badly lit at night,there is a giant wal mart across the stree and food lion at rogers lane.looks like the cat busses are full day and night at the wal mart when i drive past.

  • rlwieland Dec 6, 3:26 p.m.

    MAYOR and city council writing a LETTER? i WORKED FOR A GROCERY CHAIN FOR 21 YEARS AND THE REASON THEY LOOSE MONEY THERE IS THE CUSTOMERS steal them blind. Maybe Raleigh should work on that areas people.

  • superman Dec 6, 2:20 p.m.

    They going to wait until next year when Raleigh opens a couple full service grocery stores for them? They have lost money for 10 years--I think that is more than fair to the people in that area. Perhaps Raleigh will provide free cab service for their residents. The mayor and the city council need to remember that we all have personal problems and that we have to deal with them the best we can. A grocery store nearby is not nearly as important as being able to pick up your welfare check, food stamps or get to your medical appointments. Dont they have relativess, friends, neighbors or attend a church? The mayor could pick up their grocery order and deliver it.

  • mmtlash Dec 6, 1:55 p.m.

    Anyone else wondering if Kroger is going to pull out of the area soon? The Triangle is the only area in NC w/ Krogers, it's been years since they have opened any new stores in the area and they seem to be closing 1 or 2 stores a year in the area over the past few years. Fourteen grocery stores (the # left after mid January) in all of NC is nothing for a chain as large as Kroger...competition is good, hopefully Kroger stops this closing trend...

  • btneast Dec 6, 12:51 p.m.

    Sad that WRAL had to get involved for Kroger to do what was right. Never should have been a question they'd get their money back under the circumstances.

    It is standard policy with all gift cards from nearly all retailers that refunds are not allowed, and it is in writing and disclosed upfront. I suspect that had the Womens Center contacted Kroger on the corporate level themselves, they would have gotten the same results. It's not a decision a local store could make.

  • kimisufu Dec 6, 12:29 p.m.

    1 hour 'by bus'...reading is fundamental! #oops

  • kimisufu Dec 6, 12:24 p.m.

    When the two stores shut down in mid-January, the nearest Kroger will be more than an hour away by bus, plus nearly a mile and a half walk, one way, according to Jean Williams with the Women's Center.

    Fuquay-Varina is not an hour from Raleigh, even at 5pm, and the F-V store is not closing. ??? I get why refunds needed to be issued, but this detail was bothering me.

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