Chuck’s Market back open following mouse infestation

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UPDATE:

County health officials announced Monday that Chuck’s Market is back in operation after a reinspection, and the Marion County Public Health Department is monitoring for continued compliance.

ORIGINAL STORY:

INDIANAPOLIS — Residents on Indianapolis’ east side were surprised to see their neighborhood grocery store closed and boarded up on Wednesday.

On May 28, the Marion County Public Health Department issued a public health and safety notice outside the front doors of Chuck’s Market.

“I came here for a biscuit and gravy for my 7-year-old, and I got upset because they’re closed,” said longtime customer Jeana Vaden.

Vaden said she has been coming to Chuck’s Market since she was a child herself. She now travels 45 minutes from Greenwood for the store’s deli meat and infamous biscuits and gravy.

“It’s worth the drive,” said Vaden.

Unfortunately, Vaden and several other customers were turned away this week.

According to the inspection documents, a customer called the health department after reportedly seeing mouse droppings throughout the market.

“Consumer states the market is selling grass and vegetable seed, and where it is stored is teeming with mice. States that the area where cold cuts are sold is very near the seed storage area,” read the original complaint.

“We’ve been trying to catch the mice, and we have caught quite a few of them,” admitted owner Chuck Dorman. “We’re cleaning. We’re getting the floor all scrubbed and going to get it waxed up real good. We’ve cleaned all the shelves and cleaned everything real good.”

Dorman said every shelf in his business has been restocked and cleared of anything that was contaminated.

“We gotta get opened back up! My customers depend on me,” said Dorman. “I’m probably one of the few independent, small independent stores left.”

Since Chuck’s Market first opened its doors in October of 1975, Dorman said his business has never shut down — not even during the pandemic. Now, it will closed for one week. Dedicated employees have agreed to be all-hands-on-deck and deep clean the entire store to get everything back up to code.

“We’ve cleaned everything from the floor to the ceiling,” said longtime employee Darlene Hair. “Today we’re stripping the floor, and we’re going to wax the floor, and after this, that should be it.”

Hair said she has been transparent with customers who have approached the locked doors.

As for Vaden, she said this will not deter her from visiting Chuck’s Market once it reopens.

“It smells good and clean in there. I think they’re going to get it together,” said Vaden. “They’ll figure it out. If they gotta get a new floor, I bet they’ll get a new floor.”

“The customers are our family,” said Hair. “That’s the way we want to be treated, and that’s the way they treat us, like family.”

Dorman said he will get all the necessary cleaning done this week and ask for a re-inspection by Friday, June 4 in order to fully re-open to the public by the weekend.

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