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    Locals Rally to Save White Hen Location

    More than 1,000 sign a petition to save the store from closing due to a proposed CVS expansion.

    NEWBURYPORT, Mass. -- More than 1,000 customers of the White Hen Pantry in the Pond Street Mall here signed a petition to save the downtown convenience store from being forced out to make room for a larger CVS, according to The Daily News of Newburyport.

    White Hen owner Scott Munroe confirmed two weeks ago the store will close in April 2010, when the lease expires, to allow for the second phase of the CVS expansion. The petition asks the building owners, New England Development, and its Newburyport property managers, Ann and Chuck Lagasse, to review their decision to remove White Hen and to scale back the expansion of CVS, according to the report.

    So far more than 1,000 people had signed the petition, Munroe said. Set up by the door of White Hen, the petition states in part, "We believe that having a grocery store at this location is more beneficial to all citizens than a larger CVS," the report stated.

    The White Hen serves as a busy food market for many downtown, with a wide variety of food and necessities packed into its relatively small store.

    Ann Lagasse, leasing director for Karp's properties, said yesterday she saw the petition, but the company was faced with a choice to allow CVS to meet a need to grow, or stay with White Hen. She suggested newspaper speak to Pat Milone, the vice president of real estate for White Hen corporate headquarters.

    The owner of Fancy Schmancy on Pleasant Street told the paper there are talks of passing out leaflets near CVS and starting a media campaign to save White Hen, the newspaper reported. Some are suggesting encouraging people not to shop at CVS but to go elsewhere, Frame said.

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