Local paper fights to stay in Kroger stores

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– A Lansing City Pulse employee discovered there was nowhere to drop the papers off during a routine paper run to a Kroger in Holt.

“One of the stores jumped the gun and pulled our rack out,” Pulse publisher Berl Schwartz said, “even though the racks are supposed to remain there until the end of September.”

It’s happening to free local papers around the country.

A Kroger representative sent a statement about the chain’s decision to remove stands from their stores, saying “as publications have shifted to digital formats, the racks are no longer driving customer engagement in our stores.”

Schwartz says that’s not the case for the Pulse. The number of hard copies they’ve given out at Kroger locations in the tri-county area has actually tripled since 2012.

And as for readers switching to digital platforms?

“We do certainly have our online readers,” Schwartz said, “but because we’re free and because we’re convenient, many people more than ever at Kroger are picking them up in person.”

Schwartz says this move would put communities at a disadvantage. He’s calling for city officials to show their support for local news and an “un”-boycott at the grocery store.

“We don’t want people to stop shopping at Kroger,” he said. “We want people to pick up City Pulse at Kroger, to go in and ask the managers to pass along the message that we want to pick up City Pulse in a Kroger store.”

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