January 13th, 2011 By | News | Posted In: News, Business, Neighborhoods, Financial Crisis

More Details on Keller's IGA


A Clifton community group is contacting local and state officials to get help with the effort to reopen Keller's IGA grocery store in the Gaslight District.

The store, located on Ludlow Avenue in the heart of the neighborhood's business district, abruptly closed Jan. 6, shocking many residents and other longtime customers.

The Clifton Town Meeting (CTM), which serves as the neighborhood's community council, is working with store owners John Vierling and Charlie Dugger to help resolve the tax issues that led to the closure. Keller’s was hit hard by the recession and suffered a decline in sales due to increased competition from major retail chains, said Pete Schneider, a CTM trustee. Also, the aging building had ongoing maintenance problems.

During the economic downturn, the owners used their money to pay vendors in order to keep their shelves stocked and revenue flowing, rather than keeping current with their state and county taxes.

At the time of the store’s closing, Keller's had been working with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on a repayment plan for part of its debt to the state when the Ohio Tax Commissioner Richard Levin, in a separate action, sent a notice demanding full payment of the remaining debt, an amount the owners didn't have on hand.

Levin has since been replaced by Joseph W. Testa.

“They are committed to finding a solution to their current financial problems and are working tirelessly to reopen as soon as possible,” Schneider said. “Earlier plans to reopen as soon as Jan. 7 fell through when a financing package that had been tentatively arranged did not materialize. The owners are working on alternative financing plans.”

Despite the challenges facing independent supermarkets, Keller’s believes it can revise its cost structure to return to profitability if and when the state allows it to reopen.

“There will surely be a role for residents who want to help return Keller’s to financial health, first and foremost by giving the store our business when it reopens, and we will pass along information on other ways to help as it becomes available,” Schneider added.

Keller's opened at its Clifton location in 1939.

01.13.2011 at 09:23 Reply
I have been a customer since the late 60's. While the store might not appeal to those used to a Kroger superstore it is comforting to shop where you know the people and where everything can be found. I shop at Keller's even though I moved to Westwood 6 years ago. I feel lost without them. Hope all works out.


01.14.2011 at 11:27 Reply
I was wondering how much of this had to do with the changing of the guard. The back & forth by the Liquor Board was kinda weird. Maybe DeWhine can find time in his busy schedule of suing the Feds to take some action to preserve the business community.


01.30.2011 at 10:55 Reply
What kind of business are the idiots (owners) using. Post business year taxes aside how do they justify postponement of paying sales tax collected at the time of sale. How has the recession exactly put them in the position of robbing Peter to pay Paul? A drop in sales might make money tight but they would have have to drive customers away for things to turn so drastically. I'd bet the owners never thought to reduce their own salaries to help with the unfathomable position they've gotten themselves into. I'll even bet they haven't even used their own incomes to cover the bounced paychecks. The bottom line is Clifton shouldn't trust those two morons with a second chance.