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Antonio Perez opened Gateway Market in North Tulsa, which had been designated a food desert, in January 2010. However, several factors, including a robbery three weeks after opening and a 50 percent loss in sales, led him to close the store in July. But after reviewing his options, Perez decided to reopen the store on a smaller scale in October.
The store remains in the same location, a former Albertson’s, but Perez has winnowed the sales floor down from 60,000 square feet when it first opened to the current 12,000 square feet. Perez plans to utilize the rest of the space for an events center and a cash-n-carry location to sell groceries in bulk to smaller stores.
The new store offers four aisles of groceries in addition to dairy and produce. A bakery and deli will be opening soon. The latest iteration of the store will employ 10 to 15 people.
Perez is confident the new smaller store will succeed and will be easier to manage. “You have to have the community support,” he said in local reports. “I’m hoping that the community that was without a store for two months that they felt what it was like without a store and that they will appreciate it more and protect it and respect it.”