Kenney: ShopRite owner grasping at straws by blaming store closing on soda tax

Mike Dougherty
January 03, 2019 - 1:33 pm
The CEO of the chain that owns several area supermarkets is closing the ShopRite store in West Philadelphia, several blocks from the suburbs, blaming Philadelphia's soda tax. The city and supporters of the beverage tax question his motives.

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Shop Rite in West Philadelphia is closing, and supermarket owner Jeff Brown blames the soda tax for a drop in sales. Mayor Jim Kenney isn't buying that excuse.

"Jeff Brown is a crybaby, basically," Kenney said. "He lives in a double-wide mansion on Rittenhouse Square. He opened up a store three miles away from the store he's closing and wonders whether that has an affect on his store or not. And if you can't run a supermarket without soda sales, then something is wrong with your business practices."

Kenney says if the soda tax is so debilitating, why are other stores coming to town? Kenney thinks Brown is grasping at straws.

"Giant has decided to move into the city of Philadelphia. I think they're opening 10 or 12 over the next couple years. There's about 400 job openings at Shop Rite that are advertised on their website. He (Brown) has admitted himself he has not laid anybody off. He just needs to grow up."

RELATED: West Philly ShopRite near suburban line closing, owner blames soda tax

Brown says the store in West Philly on Haverford Avenue has become unprofitable and sales are down 23 percent.