Campaign launched to save Local Harvest Grocery

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Local Harvest Grocery & Catering owner Maddie Earnest is speaking out. The Tower Grove business owner is in need of help. Her local grocery store and two cafes are at risk of closing. A 2012 expansion in Kirkwood didn't pan out, and now they`re fighting to keep their doors open. So owners started a unique Facebook campaign to ask customers for help. The goal is to raise $120,000 by February 7th. Earnest says she`s hopeful.

"What we`re doing is reaching out to the community and asking them if they want to buy a punch card to our cafes. They can also buy a gift certificate with it. You agree not to use it until 2015 as a way to bring money in to the businesses," Earnest said.

Local Harvest has about 40 employees who could be affected by the potential closure. Shopper Patricia Tippit has been a loyal customer since the store opened in 2007 and says she can't imagine her neighborhood without her favorite store.

"The store was one of the biggest draws to the neighborhood for us. It`s great to have a local resource for organic produce," said Tippit.

Fifty percent of the products come from local farmers. An idea local vegetable producer John Williams wants to keep alive.

"We hope the community comes together and scores a win for the local food economy," said Williams.

"Missouri is number 2 only to Texas in terms of the number of small farms so we have a lot to be proud of, and that`s what we promote in our stores," said Earnest.

The challenge is on, and the word is out, now all owners and loyal customers can do is hope for the best. Earnest says if they don`t reach their goal, gift certificates purchased by customers will be refunded. They are also looking into discussions with new equity partners.

"We`ve developed a relationship with these people and they`re family truly," Tippit said.

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