The brightly colored signs outside and the nearly empty shelves inside are a sure sign that Johnson County’s last remaining Marsh is closing.

In its final days open, shoppers browsed through the last remaining items at the Center Grove area grocery store, where the shelves were nearly empty and most of the items had been brought toward the front.

Today is Marsh’s final day, said Joe Wilk, co-manager of the store at Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135.

And shoppers are sad to see the closing of the store, which was one of the first to serve the southern Center Grove area when it opened 16 years ago. But recently, Kroger opened a new store just south of Marsh, at Smokey Row Road and State Road 135. Another Kroger store is also located on State Road 135 south of Fairview Road, only three miles away. And a new Walmart store opened at Smith Valley Road in 2015, along with a new Aldi location at State Road 135 south of Main Street that opened in 2014.

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What will happen with the building next isn’t yet known. The property is one of 11 Marsh stores purchased by Kroger as part of a bankruptcy sale.

What Kroger will do with the grocery store remains to be seen. A study is still underway, with a decision set for later this month, spokesperson Eric Halvorson said.

One option is to re-open the Marsh as another Kroger store. Even with two other Kroger stores in the near vicinity, that remains an option that Kroger believes could be viable, he said.

For longtime Marsh employees, the closure has been hard.

“It feels like a death,” said Cindy Rebennack, who has worked for Marsh the past three decades.

As sad as it has been to have the company go out of business, Rebennack said she has been appreciative of how well Kroger has treated Marsh employees. Rebennack has gotten a similar job at the Kroger that opened last year at State Road 135 and Smokey Row Road.

“Kroger has been very nice,” she said.

Greenwood resident Jeremy Bennington said he used to shop at the Marsh store regularly about a decade ago. But with all the new options that have opened recently, especially along State Road 135, he’s found himself spreading out his shopping at different places, depending on who has the best deals.

He picked up cheese and some other items while he was shopping, taking advantage of the clearance deals.

Bennington hopes that Kroger or another company finds a use for the store, rather than leaving the building vacant. If the Marsh isn’t turned into another grocery store, he thinks it would be a good spot for either office space or a kids’ indoor play area, he said.

Franklin resident Diana Palusko, who also stopped by to check out the sales, said it’s hard to imagine another Kroger store coming in with the two already in the area.

Ted and Patricia Patrick of Greenwood were disappointed to learn that the store was closing and said it always had a good selection of items and they liked to stop by every so often to shop.

“We really liked the store,” Ted Patrick said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.