WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - A local grocery store reopened today to the relief of a lot of happy customers. When the store, formerly know as King's Food Store, closed last year it left the Wichita Falls neighborhood around 9th and Denver in a food desert. That's an area where affordable and nutritious food is hard to get especially for those without access to a car.
Ramiro Franco worked at King Groceries for two years before it closed. He says he locked the door after the last customer left in 2015 and the store closed. The closing left many in the economically challenged neighborhood, especially the elderly stranded. Without a car or money for transportation - food shopping became a challenge. The nearest grocery store is miles away.
"It's been very very difficult for a lot of people. The ones who are on foot are so happy to have the store open. It's been a rough year and a half."
Anil Parikh is the new owner and his son Frank is the manager. They have rehired many of the previous employees, including Franco.
"We got involved in this project about 8 to 9 months ago. We were supposed to open it up last December but it needed a lot of updates so we got that done and here we are."
The store is bright, clean and refurbished. Parikh says the total renovations cost about $160 thousand dollars including the $30 to 40 thousand dollars they spent on LED energy saving lights. They are the only grocery store in Wichita Falls that has them.
Management says opening day was great. Many happy customers say they are glad the store finally reopened.
"It's very exciting just to see the smile on everyone's faces. King's is back ya'll!"