PROVO Although Ream's Family Foods at 2250 N. University Parkway closed late last month, customers still pull up to an unexpected surprise at the store entrance.
The Ream's Family Foods at Plum Tree Shopping Center shut down April 26, said property manager Greg Bailey of Vintage Place LLC, a part-owner of Plum Tree.
Last week, dozens of cars pulled up to the store to find the doors locked and a sign, written in black marker, stating, "This location only! Ream's is closed."
Most drove off after pausing to read the sign. Others lingered for a few minutes.
"What happened?" Springville resident Danielle Veech asked.
She was on her way to the Goldenwest Credit Union inside the store. "I didn't know they closed it."
While the store's closure is still news to many customers, it isn't to Bailey.
"We knew they'd been struggling," he said.
For weeks prior to the closure, the shelves at Ream's Family Foods were going bare. Then Ream's pharmacy manager Gary Nakken sent out a letter to customers April 12 stating the pharmacy was closing and he would join staff at Shopko Pharmacy, which is near the shuttered store.
He also explained customers' prescriptions, patient profiles and prescription histories would transfer to Shopko.
Before the closure, staff declined to comment on circumstances at the store. Store employee Hyrum Oaks referred all inquiries to the store's owner Paul Ream, grandson of the late famous Utah grocer Paul Ream.
Since the store shut down, the younger Paul Ream could not be reached for comment.
The closure affects only this Ream's location. Paul Ream, a major figure in Provo who passed away in late 2007, opened the first Ream's store on 890 W. Center in 1949, said Carl Willoughby, general manager for Ream's Food Stores. He gave his grandchildren two stores, one in Provo and one in Springville, to operate. Eight years ago, the grandchildren went out on their own, but maintained the Ream's name.
The younger Paul Ream opened the University Parkway location in 2005, shortly after a bankrupt Food-4-Less closed its doors. In September 2007, the store garnered media attention when store officials pulled all the alcohol and tobacco from the store shelves because his 9-year-old daughter completed her school's DARE program and asked him why he sold drugs at his store.
Ream's Family Foods operated at its newest location at Plum Tree for two years before it closed.
Now that Ream's Family Foods in Plum Tree has closed there are 10 Ream's stores one located in Utah County, Davis County and the rest are in Salt Lake City in operation. Another Ream's store, separately owned, still operates in Springville.
Willoughby said this recent closure has no bearing on the other Ream's locations.
"We have no connection to that store," he said. "It will have no affect at all."
Though Bailey said he's disappointed to see a tenant business close, Vintage Places has been entertaining proposals from several major in-state grocers and one major out-of-state grocer that's expressed interested in occupying the 61,000 square-foot spot in Plum Tree.