PILOT MOUNTAIN — Town officials were surprised to learn that a local grocery store will be closing.
Lowe’s Foods announced Wednesday that the Pilot Mountain JustSave store at 632 South Key St. will be one of five locations to close over the next few weeks.
Twenty-four employees will be displaced at the Pilot store as a result of the closing confirmed Tom Pegram, assistant store manager.
“Lowes Foods … is announcing continued adjustments to their total store portfolio as part of a broader growth strategy for investing in new stores and continuing major store remodels,” explained a press release from a marketing firm sent out on behalf of the chain.
“These decisions are an important part of the ongoing evaluation of current store performance and strategic market positions to invest and build for future growth. We regret that these decisions will impact our store teams, their families and our guests at these locations.”
The store is set to close by April 29, confirmed Pelgram.
When asked about the closing, Pilot Mountain Town Manager Michael Boaz said, “I had no idea.”
The town had been given no notice of the store closing.
“Generally, anytime a business closes in our town, it has an impact on the town. These impacts may not always be direct financial hits to the town, but we have citizens who have lost their jobs, other citizens who have lost their favorite place to shop, and we have lost a valued member of our business community,” said Boaz
The store is also a water and sewer customer, according to Boaz. Explaining that the town had not been informed they would no longer be providing utilities to the location.
The town will lose some revenue since the store closing. “This loss of revenue will not be significant, but it is a loss nonetheless,” added Boaz.
“These impacts will be felt in our Town for some time and eventually will have a financial impact on the community.”
“The Town is sorry to see the store close and our thoughts are with those people who will lose their jobs because of this closing,” added Boaz.
Kim Quinn, treasurer for Pilot Mountain’s Business Association, explained that their organization would not be recruiting any new businesses to the location. “We mainly provided services to existing businesses here in Pilot Mountain.”
“The Surry County Economic Development board would handle that,” added Quinn.
President Todd Tucker of the Surry County Economic Development said,”We just learned of the closing, and it was out of the blue. Our first concern is with the employees. Those people are our friends and relatives, the second is the owner and then the town.”
Tucker added that the board will need to go in and access the building before they can begin marketing the building.
“We are currently dealing with a similar situation in Dobson, where the JustSave store closed.”
Lowes Foods announced the Dobson closing back in August. The business closed in September, and no new tenant has moved in.
Tucker expressed that these types of properties are typically hard to fill.
“It’s not an issue in our community, it’s the type of building. It’s hard to find another grocery store to fill the space.”
“We will work with the owner and the town to find the right fit,” added Tucker.
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter@ThePilotNC