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Last Round-Up For Pioneer Market
LA Times story about the closure of Echo Park supermarket, Lox, Stock and Pickle Barrel Go as Old Market Closes, reminds LAist that we're losing a crucial neighbor.
Pioneer helped us to avoid crossing picket lines while questing for milk during the dark days of the great Supermarket Strike of '04, now a not-distant-enough memory.
Last night at 9, Pioneer closed its doors for good. Times staff writer, Nita Lelyveld," tells us:
"Pioneer will close early and for good. Walgreens has leased the building from the market's longtime owner, Leonard Leum, who said the store was done in by soaring workers' compensation insurance costs.
"I'm crying. I cry. Everybody's crying," said Juanita Morales, 69, a Pioneer customer for nearly 40 years, as she stood in the parking lot this week, clutching a store shopping bag, with its old-time covered-wagon logo and slogan, "Courteous Service and Low Prices Too."[Store owner, Leonard] Leum, 78, said he feels terrible about closing, especially for his veteran staff for whom he's trying to find new jobs. But staying open was no longer an option, he said. This year, Pioneer paid $240,000 in workers' comp insurance, quadruple the cost of the same coverage five years ago. The big chains self-insure, he said, but "the cost of doing business with just one store is getting horrific."
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