By Allen Worrell Editor
January 17, 2014
Citing a lack of profitability for several years, Kroger will close its store on Stuart Drive in Galax on March 21.
The closing will affect the 18 full-time and 35 part-time associates. Under Kroger’s contract with Local 400 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, associates may move to other stores in Virginia, depending on their seniority. The Galax Kroger has been serving the community for nearly 50 years. It opened in 1967.
“This decision is based solely on the fact that the store has been losing money for years,” said Allison McGee, spokesman for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic region based in Roanoke. “We have invested a lot of time and money to try to turn around the financial solution here, but nothing has been successful.
“Our associates are dedicated and hard-working,” added McGee. “This decision is not a reflection of their job performances. We appreciate their contributions to the store and wish them well. We really appreciate their efforts and all the hard work they have done over the years for us.”
Kroger officials also announced the closing of a store in Lynchburg as well on Friday. Many efforts were made to keep the doors open in Galax, McGee said, but ultimately efforts continued to fail.
“A business can only continue to operate if they continue to be profitable, and this store here in Galax has been in the red for several years. We have done many things to try to turn that around without success, and a tough decision had to be made to close the doors,” McGee said. “Now, you see new stores that are 80,000 square feet, big box stores. And here we have an old, smaller store and we only have one here. We have a community that is not growing, so you take all these factors in and you look at the bottom line, and that is how the decision was reached.”
As far as severance packages for employees of the Galax store, McGee said Kroger is unionized so it would follow its contract with Local 400 in that regard.
The Galax community will continue to benefit from Kroger’s commitment to charitable organizations. These include support of Feeding America Southwest Virginia, women’s health, our troops and their families. Kroger also is a strong supporter of The Salvation Army, American Red Cross and organizations that promote the advancement of women and minorities.
“We are going to continue to support the food banks that support the local communities here. Feeding people who are hungry is important to us,” McGee said. “Kroger is also a strong supporter of The Salvation Army and American Red Cross, so if someone in Hillsville or Galax needs those services, Kroger is going to support that even though we won’t have a store.”