PEORIA — A decision by the Schnucks grocery chain to forbid soliciting at its stores will likely mean the end of Salvation Army bell ringers at those local facilities during the holiday season.

"Our primary obligation is servicing our customers by providing the most pleasant and convenient shopping environment. Because of this, we have decided to end the solicitation of our customers or distribution of written or other materials at our stores," company spokesman Paul Simon said in a statement announcing the change.

That's likely to affect those accepting donations for the Salvation Army, local spokesman Rich Draeger said Wednesday. That includes locations in Pekin and Peoria, and a second Schnucks store in Peoria is under construction.

However, Draeger noted that some discussions are still going on with the company about resolving the situation differently, and said that they've had a long association with Schnucks on food drives and other support. The company has indicated it is seeking "new and different ways to partner with community groups."

If an accord is not reached, though, Draeger said that the not-for-profit would "be working harder to make sure that we get as many ringing shifts covered as possible."

Last year, the Salvation Army fell short on its Tree of Lights campaign, which includes funds given at the money kettles.