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'It is beyond repair now': Grocery store loses refrigeration system, asks city for help

Mayank Soni hopes the city can help fund a new refrigeration unit in his grocery store, Cash Saver.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A west Louisville grocery store got creative to keep serving customers after its 20-year-old refrigeration system shut down recently.

Mayank Soni owns the Cash Saver on Wilson Avenue in the Park Duvalle neighborhood. He knows some customers have been worried the store may close, but he wanted to assure them a fix is coming. 

“It is beyond repair now," he said. "So the more money we put in isn’t going to solve the problem.”

Soni said for the past year and a half, he's poured money into the refrigeration system, to put a bandage on the problem. He said the system was already about 10 years old when it was installed in 2012. 

“If we are to take the money out of our own pocket to refinance, the business wouldn’t be viable considering the area, it isn’t that high business," he said. 

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For now, the store is using temporary, smaller refrigeration units to continue providing fresh produce, dairy and meat. 

“Considering the volume and area it isn’t enough to serve the community with four units," Soni said. 

That's only a temporary solution, and he's working with the city's economic development team to find financing options for a new system. The city owns the land, and leases it to another individual, who subleases to Soni. 

“The idea is the grocery store has to be there," Soni said. "If there is no grocery store the purpose isn’t served. So in any circumstances, it is in nobody’s best interest to lose the store.”  

Soni said the Cash Saver is one of the few options for neighbors to shop at that is walk-able and sells fresh groceries. 

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Metro Council President David James (D6) said the area is a food desert, and it's crucial to keep stores like the Cash Saver open. 

He has already heard from community members worried the store may be impacted by the refrigeration issues. 

“They’re just concerned that they’ll have one less grocery store in west Louisville where they depend on food for their children, for their grandparents, for themselves," he said. 

With help on the way from the city, Soni anticipates it will be about 8-12 weeks before he can get a new unit installed, and increase his stock again. 

After that happens, he hopes to renovate the store to provide even more options.

"Thousands and thousands of people are relying on this store, so if the store were to close that would affect their life," he said. 

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