ugg slippers office Grocery store allowed to stay open despite
MILWAUKEE In June, customers who shopped at Lena’s Food Market on Oak Street near Fond du Lac Avenue started sending FOX6 News photos on Facebook. The photos showed huge rats scurrying around the store.
“That rat that they showed on Facebook was big, and it was just crawling across the floor,” says shopper Latrice Braggs.
“That’s nasty,” Braggs said when we showed her the photos, which show a dead rat in the basement, and rodent droppings on shelves near food and on the floor.
City Health inspectors documented 15 Food Code violations in these reports issued in May 2015. Shoppers are now asking why the store is allowed to stay open. Wasn’t a rat infestation enough to close it down?
“That’s scary ’cause I come in here every morning,” Braggs said.
It started in May when a shopper complained the food was freezer burnt, the produce was spoiled, the store smelled bad, and it was very dirty.
A day later, city inspectors showed up.
They found 15 code violations and took pictures, which proved the store had a severe rat and fly infestation and rodent droppings were present throughout the store. In addition, inspectors noted an “extremely dirty produce prep and meat cutting room.”
Leon, who lives nearby, says he heard about the store having a rat problem, which is why he avoided buying meat at the store.
“I know not to shop for the meat because of the rat,” Leon said. “So I shop for the can goods and the milk.”
they should have closed it down, you know? For our health risks,” Leonsaid.
The city did close it down, but only for one day, after another city inspection showed the store had been thoroughly cleaned and a pest control company had been hired.
Less than a month after it was re opened, however, customers started complaining again.
“I would never get no meat or something in there because it has a funny smell, so you didn’t know what it was from,” said Dupree.
A shopper wrote to the health department that she was heading into the store when a raccoon sized rat chased her back to her car.
“When you get people that don’t want to go in the store and it is in their neighborhood that they would rather get a ride and go somewhere else that tells you something’s wrong with it,” Dupree said.
The store was open for more than a month after city health inspectors first documented the rat infestation.
“If they found rat infestations and all these violations, they should have been immediately closed down. That’s the Health Department’s job,” says Vera Martin.
Martin says she used to be a loyal Lena’s customer.
“The one [Lena’s] on Burleigh is just as bad,” she said.
“Just step in the door. You’ll smell it. I walked around the store like this doing my shopping,” Martin said.
She bought some bread at the store on Burleigh four months ago.
“When I pick up my bread I’m feeling for freshness, I’m not looking for rat holes,” she said.
But rat holes is what she got. They had eaten through half her loaf.
“This is a grocery store. And if they’re crawling in the bread, you know they’re crawling on all the other stuff,” she said.
She reviewed the business on Facebook outraged that when she took the bread back the manager acted like it was no big deal.
“It’s disgusting that black owned businesses don’t care about the black community,
” she said.”This is where we buy our groceries. This is where we feed our families.”