Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 12, 2012

Bluefield City Board approves Food City resolution

BLUEFIELD — Bluefield’s elected officials urged residents Tuesday to consider spending their grocery money elsewhere if a grocery store chain allows the vacated Kroger store at a Cumberland Road shopping center to remain vacant.

Members of the Bluefield City Board unanimously passed  the resolution asking the owners of Food City and the owner of the Bluefield Plaza to attend a meeting next month to explain why the old Kroger store on Cumberland Road is still vacant. Kroger vacated the premises earlier this year, and the lease was later signed by K-VA-T, the company that owns the Food City chain.

The resolution asks Steve Smith, CEO of K-VA-T, and Tom Lilly, co-owner of the Bluefield Plaza, to attend the Jan. 8, 2013 board meeting. The board’s members said the vacancy at Bluefield Plaza created when Kroger left the building has been harming Cumberland Road businesses, residents and the city as a whole.

Mayor Linda Whalen asked Bluefield’s residents to help K-VA-T realize that the issue is important and will not go away. Many of Bluefield’s citizens shop at the Food City in Bluefield, Va.

“Our citizens have made the Food City a profitable business, but Food City is now doing harm to the citizens of Bluefield, W.Va.,” Whalen said.

City inspectors checked the former Kroger site and learned that it is not in bad condition, she stated.

“I believe Food City is talking about locating another grocery store in the area because they do not want another grocery store to come into Bluefield. This is a constant threat,” Whalen said. “If you put that information out there, it makes another grocery store very leery about coming in when they know any moment Food City could decide to open up the Kroger property.”

Whalen urged the city’s residents to express their feelings about the situation by shopping elsewhere for groceries.

“Really and truly, the only thing that is going to speak to Food City is where we spend our dollars,” Whalen said. And the citizens need to take a serious look at where they spend their grocery dollars. They (Food City) think we will be upset over this for a month or two, and then go back to Food City because that is one of the most convenient places to go. It’s a nice grocery store. That’s what they are counting on us doing. As citizens of Bluefield, this is a time to stick up for your city and say, ‘You’re not going to do this to us.’ It’s your dollar that’s going to speak, and so you need to be very wise about where you’re going to spend that grocery dollar. That’s the only thing they’re going to listen to.”

Before the board voted about the resolution, Greg Shrewsbury, the city’s economic development director, was asked to describe the impact if the old Kroger store remains vacant.

“The city has continued to try and work with all sides in a non-public setting to resolve the issue,” Shrewsbury said. “We do know we have a local grocer that is willing to take the lease of that building and by blocking that particular business or not allowing that store in that facility, it cost Bluefield, W.Va. jobs.”

The city loses the economic impact of jobs and local taxes, he added.

“For that size facility, approximately 15 to 20 employees with full-time benefits would be employed. There would be 25 to 30 part-time employees,” Shrewsbury told the board.

He estimated that the store would have an annual payroll of more than $900,000. When fees and B&O taxes are added to the equation, the city is losing more than $1 million annually because of the current vacancy.

The former Kroger location is strategic because it is the largest space in town for a full-service grocery store, Shrewsbury said. The city does not have another suitable location for a store that size.

“This is a significant issue. We’ve reached out to Food City. I have personally reached out to one of the co-owners of the facility. I think it would be a good step to try and mediate and resolve this issue,” he said.

Steve Smith did not reply to a message left Tuesday at K-VA-T.

Board member Mary Frances Brammer urged residents to attend the board meeting on Jan. 8, 2013 and “let them know we are supporting our city.”

Another board member, Pete Sternloff, said K-VA-T needed to give up the lease and allow a local grocery chain, Grant’s Supermarket, move into the store.

Whalen said after Tuesday’s meeting that if representatives of K-VA-T or the shopping center do not accept the invitation to speak about the issue, “we’ll cross the bridge on Jan. 8.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • U.S. shipping coal overseas

    July 28, 2014 1 Story

  • Firefighters worked scenario nearly identical to tunnel incident

    David Thompson Sr., chief of the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department said on Sunday that regional emergency responders had met in Wytheville, Va., in June to discuss a emergency response that was similar to the real life emergency that occurred Friday afternoon in the northbound lanes of the East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 28, 2014

  • Elite eight... Eight inducted into Tazewell High School Hall of Fame

    The Elite Eight were honored by the Tazewell High School Hall of Fame Saturday.
    Eight honorees — Glen Riddle, Charles Grindstaff, Whitney Davis, Carol Green Robertson, James “Robbie” Colley, Ralph “Moon” Mullins, James Farley and Don Necessary, Sr. — were inducted Saturday at THS in the seventh annual presentation coordinated by chairman Lawrence (Debo) Johnson. They join 50 previous honorees in the select group of former graduates, supporters and friends of THS as chosen by the HOF committee.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Jays Sunday Danville nips Bluefield in 12 innings

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice scenario nearly identical to real-life tunnel fire

    July 27, 2014

  • Crash... Two transported from Route 460 wreck

    Two people were transported to a Mercer County hospital following a two-vehicle wreck Sunday afternoon on U.S. Route 460 at the intersection with Willowbrook Road.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • PRINCETON POLICE DEPARTMENT July 17-23

    July 27, 2014

  • Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27 Active warrants in Tazewell County July 27

    The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking the following individuals. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of these individuals can call the sheriff’s office at 276-988-1167 or the Tazewell County 911 Center at  276-988-0902.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_4822.jpg All tunnel lanes open

    Traffic on Interstate 77 was still backed up about 14 miles in Bland County, Va., Saturday evening, but the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at about 6 p.m. that both northbound lanes of I-77 through East River Mountain were open to traffic.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 2 Slideshows

  • First on scene... Firefighters’ story: Working together put the fire out

    Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

National and World
Newspaper Deivery Routes Available
Sister Newspapers' News
Facebook
Local News Videos