The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST for Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Story & Community Reaction Begins At 20:30 Mark On PODCAST Media Player). They were staples in the Indianapolis community for fifty-eight years. Founded by a refugee from the Hungarian Revolution, Zoltan Weisz named his business 7 to 11 Stores and in 1957 began doing business on the near northside of Indianapolis. As the neighborhoods where Weisz’s 7 to 11 stores did business became increasingly African-American, Weisz remained committed to the neighborhood. Under Weisz leadership 7 to 11 Stores were the first to hire an African-American store manager. The stores became a leader in providing equal opportunity for Blacks, when the ohter grocery stores didn’t. Among Weisz’s employees was a young man named Al Hobbs, who went on to fame and leadership with WTLC and gospel music.
Weisz sold the stores some fifteen years ago to a relative Isaiah Kuperstein. The name of the stores was changed in 2000 to Double 8 Foods, ending an injunction that had been issued by a Federal Judge in Indianapolis that prevented the Southland Corporation’s 7/11 Stores from doing business in the Indianapolis area under that name, because Weisz had used it before Southland created their nationwide chain of convenience stores. After operating 365 days a year, on Thursday, July 23rd, Double 8 didn’t open for business. Closing after fifty eight years are stores at 39th and Illinois, 30th and Sherman Drive, 29th and MLK and Fairfield and Central. In a statement, the family owned store’s President said, “We are very sad to let everyone know that we have Closed All of our Stores today, Thursday, July 23, 2015. It was a difficult and agonizing decision to make after operating for 58 years. Unfortunately, our declining revenues was too much of a challenge to overcome. We are very proud to have served our neighborhoods throughout our existence and are grateful for the many good memories we’ve shared with neighbors, friends, and customers. Most of all we appreciate the phenomenal and steadfast dedicated work of our employees. Thank you one and all for your support.”
The sudden closing of Double 8 Stores was the dominant discussion on Thursday’s Afternoons with Amos. (Interview At 1:04:25 Mark On PODCAST Media Player) City-County Council Majority Leader Monroe Gray, who represented some of the area of the store’s locations weighted in, (Interview At 50:47 Mark On PODCAST Media Player) as did Leigh Riley Evans, CEO of the Mapleton Fall Creek Community Development Corporation. Mapleton Fall-Creek will be hard hit by the closing of three of the four Double 8 Stores. A huge response from listeners expressing deep concern over the closings and with the closing of Chase Banks in some of the same neighborhoods, a f listeners felt a deep sense of anger and loss over the closings and wondering about the “real” reasons for the closing which will leave a void of a full service grocery in what Host Amos Brown’s calling a “Sahara Food Desert”, in a neighborhood bounded by Fall Creek Parkway, MLK, 16th Street, Kessler Blvd North Drive, 46th Street and Sherman Drive and 25th Street. A huge area with thousands of residents. many dependent on public transportation, many senior citizens. Mayor Greg Ballard’s office was asked to respond to the closings but they didn’t respond in time for Thursday program.
Democratic Mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett did react to the sudden closing. In a statement Hogsett said, “Today’s announcement highlights a serious issue affecting thousands of families across Indianapolis – a lack of access to high-quality, affordable food. With one-third of our children living in poverty and only 5% of this city’s residents living within a five minute walk of a grocery store, too many in our community lack access to the basic building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. The loss of these stores puts Indianapolis families at risk, and addressing the critical challenge of food deserts in our city will require real, meaningful action. If elected Mayor, I pledge to work with Federal, state, and local leaders to improve access to affordable food options and strengthen the quality of life in every neighborhood.” (Interview At 4:27 Mark On PODCAST Media Player) Also on Afternoons with Amos, Tiffany Colbert from Indiana Landmarks talked about an event in Marion Indiana designed to recognize and highlight the pioneering efforts of an African-American Architect, Samuel Plato, who designed several architectural significant buildings in that northeastern Indiana city in the early 20th Century. (Interview At 12:17 Mark On PODCAST Media Player). The Rev. Tony McGee, Pastor Zion Hope Baptist Church, talked about the church’s annual Community Fair. Amos also asked Rev. McGee, a key leader in the Devington neighborhood about the resumption of Arlington High School as an IPS School, the status of economic development in the Devington neighborhood, including the Devington Shopping Center and his reaction to the Double 8 news. The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST for Thursday, July 23, 2015 Runs 99 Minutes. PODCAST Starts After Brief Video Ad. [theplatform account=”BCY3OC” media=”_6TDTc04PkwX” player=”xFJXq1diB1tB”]