Newly renovated grocery store unable to take EBT benefits; Owner says red tape blocks resolution

DAYTON — Customers of a newly renovated downtown grocery store are being denied the ability to use EBT or SNAP benefits to pay for their groceries.

This happened at the Stop-N-Save on West Third Street in Dayton.

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Co-owner Joe Abboud and his family have been in their spot since 1997. He said he feels victimized, running into problems when they briefly closed to renovate and upgrade the store.

“They came to do the inspection, we weren’t open, the door was closed,” Abboud said.

The store closed for renovations just before Christmas, re-opening on March 5. The problem is the person assigned to do his annual, unannounced inspection for their renewal of continuing EBT apparently showed up on Dec. 27.

“There was no phone calls, there was no letters, there was nothing,” he told News Center 7.

Abboud just happened to spot an email that informed him he was losing his EBT benefits. He emailed back, began calling, and claimed he ran into a bureaucratic nightmare. He provided information and was always asked for more.

He said everyone he speaks with is very robotic and that they don’t care that he’s never had any violations in the EBT program. Abboud doesn’t think they care about his customers either.

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“I told her she didn’t care and she said, ‘I’m just doing my job.’ I said, ‘Oh no you’re not. There’s not sensitivity,’” he said.

As we showed you on News Center 7 at 6:00, Mike Campbell reached out to the Ohio Department of Health who told him they only handle EBT for the WIC program. He then reached out to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, which he was told handles SNAP benefits. They told him, “We do not handle the retailer side of SNAP. It’s likely the (United States Department of Agriculture’s) Food and Nutrition Services.”

We’re reaching out the that agency.

Meanwhile, Abboud still has the signs up at his checkout counters saying he can’t accept EBT or SNAP benefits as he waits for the officials to quit “playing their games.” He’s been told several times that he’s going to get an inspection in the next 21 days, but he’s still waiting.

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