Wednesday, January 16, 2019 Medina 30°
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Mack's gone forever?

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LODI — A community landmark with a storied 70-year history is closing its doors, but will give customers one last hurrah this weekend.

Mack’s Food Center and Locker announced Thursday morning that the store at 9945 Greenwich Road is closing, at least temporarily, as it handles lease negotiations.

The business made the announcement via Facebook in a post that as of 5 p.m. Friday had garnered 980 shares of the message.

The announcement said, “I’m sorry to say that Mack’s Food Center has temporarily closed due to a dispute with a lease agreement. It has been my pleasure to work here for many years. I’ve made many friends with employees and customers, and I will miss everyone. We will open Saturday and possibly Sunday to sell all inventory at half price. It will be while supplies last. We have donated lots of food to a food pantry already. This has been hard on all of us and maybe in the future the store can reopen.”

Attempts to reach the owners have been unsuccessful. The store was not open Friday when a reporter visited. A sign on the door reiterated that the business was closed.

Later Thursday, a second message asked people not to call the store.

Another post, which appeared late Thursday night, thanked customers for their support and said again that the store will be open today and Sunday and that some products that are left will be sold at full price.

Lodi Mayor Rob Geissman said the store has changed since he’s been around. It used to have a whole frozen goods section, which is now gone.

“It’s been more convenience store stuff in the front” said Geissman. “The meat is really what their specialty is. That’s what I think the majority of the people go there for.”

Many community members, Lodi residents, and other fans of Mack’s took to the store’s Facebook page to express their feelings about the news. The original post has nearly 400 comments.

According to the store’s website, Ted and Bobbie Mack started Mack’s in 1947. Later that year, Bobbie’s sister, Katie, and her husband, Dave Vanni, joined the Macks. In 2010, John Vanni and his partner, Patty Boesel, acquired the store.

According to the Medina County Auditor’s website, John Vanni owns the property.

Lodi resident Jill Smith said her family’s start with Mack’s goes back 27 years.

“My family moved out here from Middleburg Heights in 1991,” Smith said Friday. “There was no fast food so we would drive out to Mack’s and we would eat chicken and jojos in dad’s truck, and that’s how it started.”

Smith, who had commented on one of the store’s posts, said she learned about the store closing earlier in the week through a private Facebook group called Lodi Ohio News on the Street.

“For me, I live like 60 seconds from there so I’m just going to miss the emergency items,” Smith said. “I think that it will be tough to see it close and not reopen just because I depended on it so much, but I feel like people took it for granted and weren’t supporting it as much as they were in the past.”

Smith said her favorite products from the store has been its steaks. She said often the person at the counter knew her order before she even made it to the counter.

Mack’s also is known for its selection of beef jerky, smokies, trail bologna, and summer sausage. Mack’s sold 27 flavors of sausages in bulk or links, would make sausage flavors by request and had on-site butchers to cut pork and beef to order.

“There used to be the meat counter that ran crossways at the back of the store and there was a big wooden chopping block at the end and they had a big wheel of Swiss cheese,” said Frank James, another longtime customer.

James said he grew up in Lodi, but he has since moved away. His grandfather, Harry George James, who was a Lodi resident, invested in the store when it opened in 1947.

James used to shop there with his family as a kid.

James said the store owners have had similar disputes with landlords and landowners in the past.

“Oh, this has been going on for years,” he said. “I don’t think it’s been any real surprise.”

James said he wished the store would stay open.

“I have my daughter get trail bologna there and make packages and send it over to me,” he said.

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at (330) 721-4063 or aalfano@medina.gazette.com

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