Online protest hurting Westport's only grocery store

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 7:50 PM

WESTPORT, Wash.-  Call it the power of Facebook. Owners of Ted's Red Apple Market estimate business has dropped 18 percent one week after complaining customers started a page on Facebook about the town's only grocery store.

Some members of the "Ted's Red Apple Revival" website have called for a protest, others hope raising attention will bring another grocer to Westport.

Most of the complaints surround a shortage of food on store shelves.

Joy Davidson, one of the site's organizers, was surprised to learn about the drop in business attributed to the site.

"Actually I'm kind of stunned," said Davidson. "To know we've done that, that's alright by me."

Davidson is not boycotting the store and does not want it to go out of business.

"It's a grassroots movement to gain attention to the fact that this community deserves better," said Davidson.

Davidson said senior citizens and those without cars are not able to drive 20 miles to Safeway in Aberdeen, the closest major grocery store.

Red Apple owner Shawn Bridgeman said the online complaints will end up hurting the community if the store goes out of business or has to layoff employees.

"I honestly don't understand it," said Bridgeman.

Bridgeman, who has owned the store with her husband for almost 11 years, said they have never run out of staples, like milk.

She admits the store shelves have had fewer items than usual for two reasons. Their orders were smaller for this off-season in the coastal community and they are in the middle of changing wholesalers.

"It took us a little while to find suppliers to come out this far," said Bridgeman who is encouraging customers to be patient until the transition to the new supplier is settled within the next few weeks.

"We'll have some killer deals," said Bridgeman.

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