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Laughlin’s only grocery store set to close after 33 years

Updated April 1, 2020 - 3:37 pm

Laughlin’s only grocery store is set to close down after three decades of operation.

Aldape’s Marketplace will shut its doors this week after it sells its remaining inventory, according to Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who is working with the town to find a solution following the closure.

Aldape’s landlord, Coker Ellsworth of Ellsworth Coker Realty, confirmed the closing but didn’t want to go into the reasons why. However, Naft said the COVID-19 pandemic played a role as it interfered with the grocery’s ability to get inventory.

“Because of the closure of most of the hotels on Casino Center Drive, they have had some additional difficulties with distribution,” Naft said. “The folks who normally service them were having some challenges without the volume of the casinos doing the same type of delivery service. They’re not going to bring in a huge truck to only deliver a small order.”

The 12,000-square-foot business first formed in October 1986, according to the Secretary of State’s business license database.

Aldape’s Marketplace owner John Aldape wasn’t immediately available for comment.

“We’ve worked out an agreement (for them to close), they’ve been in business at that location for 33 years and it’s the only grocery store that serves the Laughlin community without having to go across the river on the Arizona side into Bullhead City,” said Ellsworth, who is based out of San Luis Obispo, California, but owns properties in Laughlin and Bullhead City.

Laughlin residents left without a grocery may get some help from Silver Rider Transit, Laughlin’s public bus system, which will begin offering service to two stores in nearby Bullhead City.

The Saturday-only service will transport riders at 7 a.m., 8:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to Walmart and Safeway each trip. The rides will return at around 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., respectively.

All rides begin at the Silver Rider facility and cost $2. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 702-298-4435.

Silver Rider said it has increased its sanitation measures and adopted social distancing guidelines as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Colorado River Food Bank, which is partly funded by Clark County, and Three Square food bank are also options for residents to receive food, with delivery service increased for the short term, Naft said.

Naft sees the ride-to-shop system benefiting a specific segment of the population in Laughlin.

“It’s really the folks who might get caught in the middle,” Naft said. “People who aren’t accustomed to using Three Square-type services and the people who don’t have a vehicle and can’t get across the bridge to go to the grocery store on the Bullhead side of the river.”

As for the future, Ellsworth said discussions are being had with possible new tenants to fill the grocery market void.

“I’m going to attempt to find another grocery to go in there,” Ellsworth said. “It’s important, because the community needs a grocery store.”

There would be a closure period if and when a new tenant is secured, but if that takes place the structure would be ready to operate almost right away.

“It’s been left with all the fixtures in place,” Naft said. “So it’s turnkey for whoever comes in to operate it like a market again.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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