The Fresh Grocer on Walnut Street is fighting back.
Fliers are being distributed at the grocery store chain's 40th Street and Walnut location, urging customers to contact the University of Pennsylvania and "save our store."
Earlier this month, it was reported that Penn was contesting the Fresh Grocer's right to renew its lease and was planning to replace the store known as "FroGro" to students on campus with an Acme Market.
The store, serving the West Philadelphia neighborhood for 15 years, was bustling on Monday afternoon, and more than a few customers said they were joining the fight to keep the corner a Fresh Grocer.
"I've already taken a bunch of the fliers and handed them out in the building I live in," said Emmanuel Havens, a customer who lives at 63rd Street and Walnut. "I've given them to 84 people. This place is like a family. We need it here."
The flier being distributed at Fresh Grocer said the "local, family-owned market" could close by April 1 if Penn is successful. It urges customers to contact Craig Carnaroli, Penn's executive vice president, by phone and email, follow the movement on Facebook at facebook.com/TheFreshGrocerWalnut, and use a #SavePennFroGro hashtag on social media. Only one person had used the hashtag on Twitter as of Monday afternoon.
Supporters also were urged to email their concerns to SavePennFroGro@drexeline.com.
"The more people who voice their support for our store to the university, the more likely it is that they will work with us to renew our lease," the flier read.
The flier was signed by "The Burns Family." Patrick J. Burns is Fresh Grocer's president and CEO.
Representatives from Fresh Grocer, which has an affiliation with ShopRite, did not immediately return requests for comment about the flier on Monday.
Penn spokesman Ron Ozio sent a statement Monday saying Fresh Grocer "did not renew their lease in a timely fashion in accordance with the terms of the lease." According to the statement, Penn identified a new operator based on a request for proposals, "and we are now working on a smooth and orderly transition."
A representative from Fresh Grocer previously told the Daily Pennsylvanian that the new operator would be Acme.
One customer worried Monday about whether prices or hours would change under a new tenant. The Penn Fresh Grocer is open 24 hours.
"It's really convenient and affordable. I'd probably still come no matter what, but I like this store the way it is," said Doll Fuller, 56.
Others didn't mind the prospects of a new vendor, as long as a grocery store remained on the corner of 40th and Walnut.
"I do like the Fresh Grocer. It's very convenient," said Alfredo Flores, 21, a Drexel University student who biked to the store. "As long as it gets the job done, though, and it's affordable, I'll still come here no matter what it is."