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Ed Eden kept hoping sales would pick up.
He tried different tactics to get shoppers in the doors of LT’s Fine Grocery.
In the end, it was not enough. Eden announced this week that he will close Lone Tree’s only grocery store after 19 years on Devoe Street in downtown.
He has not set a date for the actual closing.
“My sales have been declining for quite a while,” Eden said Tuesday morning.
He said Lone Tree residents used LT’s as a convenience store, spending hundreds of dollars on groceries in Iowa City and then picking up the few things they forgot at the Lone Tree store.
For a while that business concept worked when 300-400 people shopped in the store every day. That daily number has dwindled to 70 to 80 people.
“Less than 5 percent of the people who lived in Lone Tree were shopping here,” Eden said.
In recent years, Casey’s opened a new store just up the street and Dollar General opened on Highway 22.
“Those didn’t help,” Eden said.
Eden also owns a grocery in Keota. He has begun moving merchandise from the Lone Tree store to Keota.
“I’m fortunate enough to have another store, so I can sell all my merchandise at retail,” he said.
Things that are not easily moved will be sold in Lone Tree.
The closing announcement is forcing some changes in town. Monday evening, the Lone Tree City Council approved buying food for the senior dining program from Fareway in Iowa City. The city had spent more than $8,500 at the grocery store over the past 12 months.
Mayor Jon Green and City Clerk Stephanie Dautremont will work with Fareway to set up an account and begin buying food there.