OTSEGO, Mich. -- After nearly 70 years with the family business, owners of Harding's Market announced plans to close their downtown Otsego location in March.
No closing date is set, but Harding and Hill, Inc. President Dan Hill wrote in a public statement Monday that they will be providing positions at other locations to as many affected employees as they can:
"Recently, we made the difficult decision to close our Harding’s Market Otsego location, which has proudly served the community and been a part of our family for nearly 70 years. While it is never an easy decision to close a store, this outcome is particularly painful for us, and we thank the community for their loyal patronage over the years. This is not a reflection on our dedicated associates or their commitment to serving our customers. In fact, we will be doing our best to find positions for as many associates as possible at our other Harding's locations.
While there is no firm closing date, the store will close for business in March, after which a decision will be made regarding the building and real estate. Until then, we will continue to serve our customers with the same customer focus, savings and quality they have come to expect at Harding's, and we look forward to seeing them at our other locations in Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana."
Otsego City Commissioner Nick Breedveld tells FOX 17 he knows how difficult the decision to close a store is.
"As an individual that owned a store in a small community, it’s a tough decision to make the decision to close," said Breedveld. "And with it affecting that many people, it’s a tougher decision."
The Harding's Market downtown Otsego is less than three miles from its Plainwell location, as well as large grocer chains. Breedveld says city officials must focus on bringing new business downtown.
"I would like to thank [Harding's Market] for their many years of commitment to the city of Otsego and the surrounding area," said Breedveld.
"It’s devastating to the city too. It’s one more building that’s vacant, that we need to figure out what to do to bring another business in.”