BENWOOD - City officials say they are wasting no time in seeking a new grocery store now that Kroger has announced it will close its Benwood store on Aug. 25.
Benwood Mayor Ed Kuca said he and other officials met Thursday with Kroger to discuss the store closing. The owner of the plaza where Kroger is located, the firm IMI Fabi, which operates the adjacent talcum powder plant, has other plans for the area and did not extend Kroger's current lease.
"We have terrific associates in our Benwood store who have worked hard to serve their community," Bernie Anders, district manager of the Ohio Valley Kroger stores, said. "Unfortunately, our lease is expiring at this location, and the landlord has different plans for the property, so we have no choice but to close the store on Aug. 25."
Kroger in Benwood will close its doors Aug. 25, according to officials.
A call to IMI Fabi's Benwood office was not immediately returned.
Anders said all 61 store associates at the Benwood store will be offered employment opportunities at other locations in the surrounding area. Kroger currently employs 1,136 associates in the Wheeling-Steubenville region. He also added that Kroger will continue its commitment and service to the Ohio Valley.
"Kroger is a long-time partner within the Ohio Valley grocery industry," Anders said. "We are committed to the valley, our associates, our customers and the community."
Kuca, though, believes there is a chance Kroger could remain in Benwood, as a developer that he would not name has offered to build a new building across Marshall Street from the current operation.
"And we will definitely be looking at another grocery chain" if Kroger doesn't work out, Kuca added. "We have a location and a willing developer, so I'm certain we will have some type of grocery operation for our residents and also the residents of McMechen and South Wheeling."