The serious sanitation problems that shuttered a store in North Bend on Sunday are being addressed, according to a spokeswoman for Dollar General Corporation.
Crystal Ghassemi, of Corporate Communications, indicated the effort will go beyond addressing the rodent problem at Dollar General.
She alluded to a plan for remodeling the store, which would not reopen until later this spring.
Health inspectors in Hamilton County credit a customer complaint about conditions inside the store. Customers were ushered out on Sunday afternoon as inspectors arrived after viewing some unsettling photographs.
Those pictures show dead rodents and rodent feces in the store.
After taking a look for themselves, the health inspectors wrote in a report: "Observed the presence of live insects, rodents, and other pests. Observed large amount of mice feces and nesting material in facility...Observed a build-up of dirt and debris. Observed a large amount of rodent feces throughout the facility on the fall, on and under shelves, including non-food areas."
The sign on the entrance door Monday announced the store was "temporarily closed," but gave no reason.
Sharon Ecim, of nearby Cleves, drove over for some lightbulbs and had to leave empty-handed.
"It's frequently disorganized, but I've never seen an actual creature, like a mouse, or a rat, or a bug," she said.
According to Greg Kesterman, of the Hamilton County Health Department, the store had been unable to get its sanitation situation under control.
Kesterman said Dollar General, faced with the findings, voluntarily closed on Sunday, knowing it would have been ordered to shut its operation if it had resisted.
"During the inspection, we actually observed animal feces on shelves throughout the store," Kesterman said. "We also observed it on top of closed food packages and at least one package had been chewed open."
The store is required to discard any product that has been opened.
Store-wide cleaning was underway during Monday's normal operating hours as regular customers arrived to find the lights on but the doors locked.
The company had plans in motion to bring in a professional exterminator and clean every square inch of the store. It would have to pass muster during a re-inspection by Hamilton County health experts in order to reopen.
It's obvious from a written statement by Dollar General Corporation that the store will remain closed during part of the spring.
The statement read: "Dollar General is committed to providing a clean, pleasant environment for our customers and employees. In line with this commitment, we have taken steps to address the unsatisfactory conditions at our North Bend store, and it will remain closed until we believe that the underlying issues are resolved. Once these issues have been addressed, we plan to remodel the North Bend store and look forward to welcoming our Hamilton County neighbors when we reopen later this spring."
Health officials emphasized how much the photos provided by the concerned customer and the immediate contact helped.
They have 2,600 establishments under their jurisdiction and want citizens to understand they take every complaint seriously.
"I received this complaint at three o'clock on a Sunday," related Kesterman. "Our business is not open for regular customers to come in."
Yet, he pointed out both he and an inspector went to the store that very day and began the process that resulted in a shutdown.
Normally, the store is inspected annually. But since Sunday's complaint resulted in such significant findings, it will be inspected monthly for at least the next six months.
WEBVTT ARRIVED, HAVING SEEN SOMEUNSETTLING PICTURES.THIS IS WHAT A CUSTOMER SAWSUNDAY, A DEAD RODENT INSIDEDOLLAR GENERAL IN NORTH BEND.SHE TOOK IT STRAIGHT TO COUNTYHEALTH INSPECTORS, WHO WENT TOSEE FOR THEMSELVES.THEIR REPORT NOTES THE PRESENCEOF LIVE INSECTS, RODENTS, ANDOTHER PESTS, LARGE AMOUNT OFMICE FECES AND NESTING MATERIALIN THE FACILITY.THEY ALSO NOTED DIRT AND DEBRISAND LARGE AMOUNTS OF RODENTFECES THROUGHOUT THE STORE, ONAND UNDER SHELVING, EVEN INNON-FOOD SECTIONS.THIS WOMAN CAME IN TODAY FORLIGHTBULBS. >> IT'S FREQUENTLY DISORGANIZED,BUT I'VE NEVER SEEN AN ACTUALCREATURE LIKE A MOUSE OR A RATOR A BUG.JOHN: SHE FOUND THE STORETEMPORARILY CLOSED.AS DID OTHERS WHO MADE THE RAINYMORNING TREK, UNAWARE OF THESANITATION SITUATION INSIDE.>> THE FACILITY CLEARLY HADN'TBEEN ABLE TO GET THE ISSUE UNDERCONTROL.JOHN: THE ASSISTANT HEALTHCOMMISSIONER SAYS DOLLARGENERAL, FACED WITH THEFINDINGS, VOLUNTARILY CLOSED-- VOLUNTARILY CLOSED.>> DURING THE INSPECTION, WEACTUALLY OBSERVED ANIMAL FECESON SHELVES THROUGHOUT THE STORE.WE ALSO OBSERVED IT ON TOP OFCLOSED FOOD PACKAGES AND ATLEAST ONE PACKAGE HAD BEENCHEWED OPEN.JOHN: STORE-WIDE CLEANING WASUNDERWAY DURING MONDAY'S NORMALOPERATING HOURS AS REGULARS WERELEFT LARGELY IN THE DARK.THE CHECKLIST GOING FORWARDEXTERMINATE PESTS, CLEAN EVERYSQUARE INCH OF THE STORE ANDPASS A RE-INSPECTION BY HAMILTONCOUNTY HEALTH EXPERTS.ONLY THEN WILL THE STORE BEALLOWED TO REOPEN.HEALTH OFFICIALS EMPHASIZED HOWMUCH THE PHOTOS PROVIDED BY THECONCERNED CUSTOMER AND THEIMMEDIATE CONTACT HELPED.>> I RECEIVED THIS COMPLAINT AT3:00 ON A SUNDAY.OUR BUSINESS IS NOT OPEN FORREGULAR CUSTOMERS TO COME IN.AND WE INSPECT IT CAUSE WECONSIDER IT A SERIOUS VIOLATION.JOHN: ONCE SOMETHING THISSIGNIFICANT OCCURS IN ANY OF THE2600 ESTABLISHMENTS WITHIN THECOUNTY JURISDICTION, INSPECTORSRETURN MONTHLY FOR AT LEAST THE
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