What's the real story with Santoni's?

Like the mayor, I'm no grocer, but I am nonetheless skeptical of owner Rob Santoni Jr.'s explanation of why he is closing his Highlandtown supermarket ("Santoni's closing Highlandtown store," Oct. 13).

To claim that the city's bottle tax is the sole reason for this decision raises a few questions: If beverage sales are such a big piece of the business, why didn't he grow volume in other areas, like real, healthy food, maybe even peas?

Why did his family sell off the other 11 grocery stores over the last 80-some years and retain only one store, which apparently is over-dependent on a single product line (beverages)?

And how come all the other competitors mentioned in the story are opening, growing and prospering despite the tax?

Finally, how can he complain of the competition from the Shoppers Food and Pharmacy "a few miles away in the county?" The last time I looked, this Shoppers was still in the city at Kane Street and Eastern Avenue.

To me the bottom line is that despite being map-challenged and uncivil in his remarks about the mayor, Mr. Santoni operated a on business model that was simply non-competitive.

David Hash, Middle River

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