‘This is like a death’: Customers disappointed to hear family-owned grocery stores are being sold

LANCASTER & LEBANON COUNTIES, Pa. -- A 94-year-old family owned company in South Central Pennsylvania is being sold. Musser's Markets last 3 stores in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties will soon be taken over by Giant Food Stores.

Some shoppers say the prices, the deals, and the people who work at Musser's make shopping feel less like a chore; they worry all that will go away when Giant steps in and takes over the stores.

"This is like a death," explained Anna, who didn't wish to give her last name.

Anna is a loyal customer at Musser's Markets.

"The people I see here, I know them. They know me by name," explained John Hardy, a loyal shopper. "They shared a lot of blessings with me, a lot of heartaches with me. That's what it's all about."

Born in 1925 and ran by the Musser family over the past 94 years, the family has decided to exit the grocery store business altogether.

"I wasn't surprised because Darrenkamp's went and Ferguson and Hassler's went, so I am not surprised to hear Musser's went, but it's going to be different," said Helen Miller, who has shopped at Musser's for at least 50 years.

Miller hopes one thing will stay the same.

"Always been satisfied, and I just hope we will continue to be satisfied," she said.

"I love this place man. I shop here all the time," explained John Hardy. "Without this place, I am going to have to go all the way over to Gap."

"I am very angry that they sold out to Giant. I think Giant is a megalomaniac," said Anna. "They're very expensive for people on a fixed income like me. It is difficult to make that dollar stretch. The other thing I don't like about Giant, after they took Fergie's over, there is no human interaction. Everything is all this self-check out stuff. It's machine this and machine that."

The owners of Musser's Markets didn't want to speak on camera, but this statement they provided to us reads: "Due to changes in the industry, the loss of our cooperative wholesaler (AWI), customer buying habits, online pressure and competition in Lancaster & Lebanon Counties it has become clear that the only way we can continue to service our customers and give our employees better opportunities is to provide a company that can meet these new needs."

"We are looking for great people to run these stores so we are going to need a large complement of people to do so," said Chris Brand, the communication director for Giant.

Brand told FOX43 he wants customers to know that Giant has been around for nearly 100 years as well, assuring the transition will be as smoothe as possible.

The takeover will happen this fall. Miller doesn't believe it will be all that bad.

"People have to do what they have to do, and apparently, they feel they have to do this, and it's probably the right time," she explained.

Musser's Markets last day of business will be October 17. Brand says the store will close for a week or even two for remodeling.

He says they're keeping tabs on what customers think and Giant could keep some beloved local products.

He says all Musser's associates are encouraged to apply for a new position with Giant.

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