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Morris Coborn's to close

The Coborn's grocery store in Morris is scheduled to close at the end of October. The store has operated at its location near Highway 28 since 1996.

Coborn's grocery, which has done business in Morris since 1996, will close when its building lease expires at the end of October.

Steven Gottwalt, Coborn's Director of Communications and Consumer Affairs, said Thursday that the current economic climate and slow growth of the Morris area were the primary factors in the company's decision.

"These days are few and far in between but it's unfortunate when it happens," Gottwalt said.

Coborn's signed its first lease for its current building in 1996 and was part of an expansion in four communities -- including Mora, Long Prairie and Princeton -- when the company purchased the businesses from Holiday.

Gottwalt said no other Coborn's stores are currently slated for closure and that, until recently, the company had been adding about a new store per year.

A few years ago, Coborn's purchased property on the north side of Highway 28 from its current location and had plans to build a new store on the site. However, progress on developing those plans stalled and the property was sold, Gottwalt said.

"We made the difficult but necessary decision to close," Gottwalt said.

Morris Coborn's store manager Dean Mithun said Coborn's officials came to the store on Wednesday to inform employees of the closure. He said there are more than 50 employees.

Gottwalt said employees will be given severance packages and will be offered jobs at other company stores.

"We've enjoyed serving the Morris community," he said. "They're wonderful people and we've enjoyed giving back to the community."

Mithun said there is anger about the closing but that it's focused mostly on what the community is losing.

"It's a worse situation for the community," Mithun said. "There will be one less employer, people leaving town. It's tough to lose another business in town."