Santoni's closing must have had to do with more than the bottle tax

It is sad to hear that a local business, Santoni's Supermarket, will be closing after more than eight decades serving the people of southeast Baltimore ("Highlandtown Santoni's folds," Oct. 14). Not only are 80 people going to be out of jobs, but now another Baltimore neighborhood faces life in a food desert, all too common of a problem in our city.

Santoni's has been in business since the tail end of the Great Depression, stayed in business through food rationing of World War II, though white flight of the '60's and '70's, and countless recessions, including the Great Recession of which some of the effects can still be felt. Yet Robert Santoni Jr. would have us believe that the "sole reason" that this well-established neighborhood grocery store is going out of business is the Baltimore City bottled-beverage tax. Incredible. Mr. Santoni would have us believe that his patrons are traveling to the county to save a few pennies on soda purchases — that's a trip of almost four miles to the Mars on Holabird Avenue (not a trip easily made on public transportation).

Perhaps Mr. Santoni, bitter after having lost the battle against this tax and faced with his failure to maintain his family's store the way it had been through so many other financially troubling times, sees the tax as the "sole reason" for the market's closing, but rational citizens don't believe it. Santoni's failed to make a profit, there are likely many reasons and it is a disservice to the community it once served and to which the beverage tax was meant to help to pretend that the tax was the "sole reason."

Dan Goodman, Baltimore

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