Food Lion grocery closing mid-February

Friday, January 13, 2012
Tribune photo by Clint Confehr Linda Price of Lewisburg, left, shares her views about the Lewisburg Food Lion closing Feb. 15 with Mary Ensey of Shelbyville.

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Shoppers at the Food Lion that's closing here on Feb. 15 are sorry for the employees, they said while selecting groceries Thursday morning when the corporation made its announcement from offices in North Carolina.

"I just hate for the people to lose their jobs," Mary Ensey said in one of the aisles, adding, "I know, because I've lost a job." Ensey was shopping for her job. She's a caregiver working here. Ensey lives in Shelbyville. "I don't normally shop here," or at the Food Lion in Shelbyville, she said.

Also concerned about Food Lion employees was Linda Price of Lewisburg who was shopping for the Kiddie College Day Care here in Lewisburg.

"The guy in the meat department has been so nice to us," Price said. "I buy in bulk."

A man from the meat department referred news questions to the front office. A clerk answering the store's phone that morning referred questions to a public relations woman who was not immediately available, although the corporation's PR office issued a press release that answered shoppers' questions on why the store is closing.

"Food Lion is focused on repositioning our business for future growth," Food Lion president Cathy Green Burns said. "By closing underperforming stores, we will continue to position Food Lion for success, especially in light of our brand strategy results."

The Lewisburg store is one of 25 being closed in Tennessee. That's nearly 22 percent of the 113 being closed. They include stores in Smyrna, Clarksville, two in Murfreesboro, six in Chattanooga.

"I hate it," Lewisburg resident Angie Wright said of the store's closing. "I shop here all the time."

She wasn't exactly sure where she would be buying groceries the day after Valentine's Day.

Two other groceries in town were contacted for comment. Both said they regret the loss of employment here, as well as a reduction in choices available to consumers.

One employee at the Food Lion store wondered aloud what she faced when it comes to unemployment benefits.