GLBT Leaders Say Protest Could Cost Grocers Thousands of Dollars

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After two grocery chains pulled an alternative newspaper off their shelves, gay and lesbian leaders responded by encouraging others to pull their dollars from their stores.

Kroger and Harris Teeter pulled the Out and About newspaper three weeks ago.

The gay community is betting that it can make a statement through the wallet.

"These are people and these are shoppers that know discrimination and will go elsewhere to shop," said Out and About publisher Jerry Jones.

And that's what Nashville's gay community has done for the past week. To protest Kroger and Harris Teeter's action to pull their gay newspaper off the shelf, they stopped shopping.

"For just a one-week period, more than $15,000 in receipts were collected," Jones said.

They launched the weeklong "Save Your Receipts" campaign to show their long-term buying power.

Out and About is publication geared toward Middle Tennessee's gay and lesbian community. The paper once was available in more than 30 local Kroger and three Harris Teeter stores.

"It's just discrimination, outright discrimination," Jones said.

Jones says the response was amazing to the call to cease shopping at the stores.

"It shows the buying power and the economic power our community has," Jones said.

Harris Teeter did not respond to NewsChannel 5 requests for comment, but Kroger issued the following statement:

"We welcome all customers to our stores and appreciate when they choose to shop with us. We realize that this recent situation has been difficult. We are evaluating the situation to reach a resolution that best serves all of our customers."

Jones said he hopes the showed the strength within the gay community. He also hopes the paper can reach a compromise with the stores.

"Ideally, what we'd like to see happen is for Kroger to allow the newspapers back in the stores where we have a large readership presence," he said.

If a compromise isn't reached, he said he's already considered a stepped-up campaign. If they can't reach a deal, local gay leaders may go national with their protest.

Organizers of the "Save Your Receipts" campaign said more than 250 receipts were turned in totaling more than $15,000. They continue to ask Nashville's gay community to shop elsewhere until a solution can be reached.

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