Folks in Newburyport, Mass., love their White Hen Pantry, so much so, more than 2,000 customers have signed a petition asking that the local c-store be allowed to stay, Eagle Tribune Publishing Co. reported.
The White Hen in question, located about four blocks from Market Square, serves as a market for thousands of people who live or work around the downtown area and serves as a c-store, deli and liquor store. It has held its location for 20 years.
In April, however, its lease will not be renewed in order to make room for a much larger CVS. Many in the community are upset about the lease decision made by the building’s owner and manager, Newburyport Development, which is owned by billionaire developer Steven Karp.
The campaign to save the White Hen Pantry has captured more attention than the city’s fall election, Eagle Tribune Publishing Co., reported. In addition to the petition drive, a community meeting is being held and residents are talking about boycotting the new CVS. The fact that the community is rallying to support the White Hen, part of a 57-store franchise chain, is surprising because the town largely supported banning chain stores altogether in favor of smaller businesses not so long ago. But it appears residents also want their needs to be met conveniently, something the White Hen has been doing for two decades, and now its loyal customers are helping the store fight back.
CVS has been super-sizing its stores across the region and Newburyport isn’t alone in fighting for its local stores. In nearby Chatham, more than 10,000 people have signed a petition to save a much-loved downtown market that is also about to be replaced by a CVS.