With a closed border and declining population, the Douglas economy is at a crossroads

By Clara Migoya | Arizona Republic

DOUGLAS — Oct. 1 was the final day the doors of Douglas’ Food City grocery store opened to shoppers.

The cold warehouse lighting fell on bare produce tables and empty shelves. Piles of plastic crates held by plastic wrap sat in the middle of the aisles.

That day only five of the former 62 employees remained in the store.

In June, word broke that Bashas’ Inc. would be closing the location. On Aug. 10, the city confirmed it. The closure was driven by sales losses and the declining Douglas population, corporation officials said.

Some employees took the company’s offer to transfer to Sierra Vista. A couple more found jobs at the Douglas Walmart, the only big grocery store left in the city.

“Not even a quarter of the employees are getting those jobs,” said Gilbert Suarez, the store director.

“They want to stay in Douglas.”

Although prompted by the pandemic and the border restrictions, the closure of Food City is symptomatic of the state of the economy in Douglas, some residents suggest.

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