AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The future of the old Kroger store on Wrightsboro Road could be home to another grocer.
The anchor store shut its doors Friday. The move comes after an announcement last month that declining sales and a prolonged negative profit would close up shop.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with customers and nearby business owners about their thoughts on the closure and what they are hoping for with the vacant building’s future.
“It is a convenience when people shop at the mall they usually stop by here,” local shopper Harry Hernandez told us as he walked into a restaurant in Richmond Plaza.
Marty Vann, another shopper, also frequented the Kroger.
“I kind of felt bad for the older people because they just keep moving everything. They need to be able to come and get their prescription filled,” she said adding that she also utilized the pharmacy.
Kroger is now closed for good. The decision, based on declining sales and a prolonged negative profit, is not sitting well with more than just customers.
“I was heartbroken because it was just a convenience for us,” said Brenda Black-Weathers, Casual Male Manager. “The employees that work here go to Kroger instead of going to Burger King everyday for lunch.”
Black-Weathers runs the Casual Male store two doors down from Kroger and she said she saw customers shopping for food and clothing often.
She added, “There were a lot of guys that would come here because their wife went shopping. They would actually shop.”
The store manger and many customers hope whatever takes the now vacant spot offers the same concept. And it might. We learned that Phillips Edison & Company owns the property that was once Kroger. The Utah based company is now seeking a retailer to lease the space specializing in anchor grocery stores such as Publix and Trader Joe’s.
“It’s convenient for us,” Black-Weathers said. “Some days you’re running late and you don’t get to fix your lunch. We would go to Kroger because you have such a healthier choice.”
“Maybe a BI-LO or a Publix,” Vann said sharing a few of her favorites until we reminded her there is a BI-LO already on Wrightsboro Road, just down the street.
The owners have other stores such as Publix, Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market. So, it’s possible we could see another grocery store there.
Count on NewsChannel 6 to keep you updated.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps