The sudden closure of a grocery store leaves a foul smell over a community

BREESE, Ill. - The smell of rotten food is in the air in a southern Illinois town. It’s gotten so bad nearby businesses are complaining and the local health department is forced to act.

Whenever there's been a breeze in Breese, Illinois over the past couple of weeks it carried the smell of rotting food out of the parking lot in front of the closed Schuette’s grocery store. But with no breeze and temperatures in the 90s, the smell of spoiled food from the store has been a problem for a pharmacy operating out of the same building.

The Schuette market closed September 6 after filing for bankruptcy and it didn’t take long for the overwhelming stench of spoiled groceries to become a problem. Family Care Pharmacy, which operates next door, is separated only by a gate from the grocery store. The pharmacy has air fresheners set around the store to try and mitigate the smell.

After complaints about the smell to the Clinton County Health Department, an inspector visited the store and the bankruptcy trustee had all the spoiled produce and meat removed. Power is still on in the building so refrigeration units can keep other perishable food cold. But while the store sits dark and idle, resident have to travel to other nearby towns for groceries.

The trustee told Fox 2/KPLR 11 that the liquidation process for all the items in the Schuette store will soon begin. He said at least one other grocery store operator has expressed interest in opening a store in this location but he did not identify that company. But that news is giving residents hope in Breese and surround areas that maybe it will reopen as a grocery store soon.