UNION — Less than six years after it opened for business, the Food Lion store in Union is closing.
In a statement released Thursday, Food Lion announced plans to close eight under performing stores in its operating area. The store locations include:
• 320 North Duncan Bypass, Union, S.C.
• 1207 W. Wade Hampton Blvd., Greer, S.C.
• 65 Sycamore Ave., Charleston, S.C.
• 602 Park St., Belmont, N.C.
• 10159 Hastings Drive, Manassas, Va.
• 13065 Fair Lakes Shopping Center, Fairfax, Va.
• 679 Lake Center C-1, Moneta, Va.
• 1208 Perrowville Road, Forest, Va.
Christy Phillips-Brown, director of External Communications and Community Relations, said the stores, which will be closed by mid-February, are being closed by Food Lion “because they are under performing and did not meet the company’s standards for profitability. While these decisions are difficult, especially given the impact on our associates, customers and communities, our actions will continue to enhance the performance of our overall store portfolio and further enable us to deliver profitable growth and accelerate shareholder value. After these actions are complete, Food Lion will have 1,119 stores and will continue to operate in 10 states.”
Phillips-Brown said that store associates were informed of the decision at 9 p.m. Wednesday. She said each store employs an average of 35-40 associates. Each associate at the affected stores will have the opportunity to apply for positions at other Food Lion locations that are available.
Even after the Union store is closes, Phillips-Brown said there will still be 24 Food Lion stores in the Greenville, Spartanburg and Asheville area including stores in Gaffney, Blacksburg and Spartanburg. She said the company will still have a total of 115 stores in South Carolina.
The Union Food Lion store opened Aug. 15, 2007.
Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said that while unfortunate, the store’s closing presents the community with a challenge to building on recent economic to strengthen local business.
“Certainly it is sad to see that happened because it is a loss of jobs and it decreases the shopping opportunities for our citizens,” Sinclair said. “But I understand that Food Lion is a corporation that has to watch its bottom line and apparently they weren’t making it here or in Greer. The challenge for Union is to continue the economic growth we’ve experienced in the last couple of years to make local business more viable.”
City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson expressed his hope that a new company will soon locate in the building currently occupied by Food Lion.
“It certainly is disappointing news and at the same time understandable given how in the world of retail marketing competition companies move in and out of some marketing areas,” Thompson said. “Hopefully we’ll soon have a new business coming in and locating in that spot. We wish them good luck and thank them for coming to Union.”
Torance Inman, Union County Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the challenge for the community will be to recruit another business to take Food Lion’s place.
“It’s always distressing when a local employers goes out of business,” Inman said. “We’ll have the challenge of marketing the facility and recruiting another business to that location.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.