Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 8, 2013

Food City CEO a no-show at grocery store public forum


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — An envisioned public forum on the ongoing grocery store controversy in Bluefield didn’t go as planned Tuesday.

The Bluefield Board of Directors passed a resolution in December asking Steve Smith, CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., and Tom Lilly, co-owner of the Bluefield Plaza, to attend Tuesday’s board meeting to explain why the old Kroger store on Cumberland Road is still empty.

However, neither Smith or Lilly attended Tuesday’s meeting. Smith sent the board a letter saying he was unable to attend due to a prior commitment. Lilly told the board he felt it would be better to discuss the issue with K.V.A.T. at the negotiation table as opposed to a public forum.

Mayor Linda Whalen said city officials would continue to push the issue, and are planning a meeting with Lilly soon. She said Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, also has agreed to work on the city’s behalf with Lilly and Smith in an attempt to help get a new grocery store in Bluefield.

For more on Tuesday’s meeting, and what city officials will do next to address the grocery store issue, see Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph.