Copes is No More: The Darkness Descends as the Last of the Independent Grocers Bites the Dust

By Paul Gipe

We’d seen the signs before we left. For the past several months we watched the inventory disappear. Then they took out some rows of shelving, but the inventory continued to shrink. All signs we’d seen before at Green Frog.

Today we drove to Cope’s to get some groceries after hitting the farmers market. The roll doors were down and a sign in the window. Sherry was coming out the door and said, “We’re closed. Moved everything to 11-C.”

11-C is the last of the line for Oildale, hell, even for Bakersfield. When it goes it’s just Walmart and the big chains.

11-C isn’t our cup of tea. Dark, dingy, and an even sketchier clientele than Copes–if that was possible.

We chose not to shop there several years ago because the veggies were not fresh. We got to know the guy, Allen Johnson, who stocked the veggies at Copes. We liked him. He kept the veggies fresh.

He’s probably gone too.

We remember when Alex, an ex-Marine, was injured chasing two guys steeling beer at Copes. Fortunately, it wasn’t serious, but it was topic for small talk for months to come.

He’s probably applying for a job at Walmart.