Discount grocer to close down


Janette Spellman walks to her car Monday after shopping at the Rocky Mount Save-A-Lot store.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A local discount supermarket chain store will soon close its doors for good in Rocky Mount.

The Save-A-Lot at 145 S. Wesleyan Blvd. is set to close on Nov. 22, said Chon Tomlin, communications and community relations manager for Save-A-Lot Food Stores. The 15,000-square-foot store carries name-brand and private-label grocery items such as bakery, dairy, deli, meat, produce, snacks, seafood and frozen foods.

Tomlin said the local store wasn’t profiting at the level that the company expected it to be. The Rocky Mount location opened March 23, 2005.

“The closure of the Rocky Mount location is not part of a larger plan to close stores but instead the decision was specific to the Rocky Mount location,” Tomlin said. “It’s never our wish to close a store in any neighborhood. We truly value our customers and take pride in being the neighborhood grocer in many communities, including Rocky Mount. However, during the course of normal business operations, Save-A-Lot continuously evaluates its stores to identify opportunities to strengthen its overall business and when neccessary, closes stores that are underperforming.”

Tomlin added all employees have been briefed on the closing process and options for future employment with the company.

“While these decisions are always difficult, given the impact on associates and customers, they ultimately allow us to operate more efficiently and effectively within a highly competitive retail environment,” Tomlin said.

Mayor David Combs said local residents still have several grocery store options, including newer choices like Lidl grocery store that opened this summer on North Wesleyan Boulevard. He added popular grocery store chains like Publix is looking to expand more in North Carolina and have identified Rocky Mount as an area to come into.

“There is a lot of competition in the grocery store market in this area,” Combs said.

In September, the Missouri-based retailer closed down another Eastern North Carolina store in Elizabeth City after just a little more than two years in business, reports said. In January, it was reported that Save-A-Lot announced plans to close all 13 of its combined stores in the California and Nevada markets. 

Onex Corp., a Toronto-based private equity firm, acquired the Save-A-Lot chain for $1.37 billion in October 2016.