Food Lion closes several stores in Virginia

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A major grocery store is closing its doors. Two Food Lion locations in the Richmond area, one on Ridgefield parkway and Quioccasin road, will soon close down.

Soon, the sound of shopping carts and grocery bags will be a sign of the past. Customers who've shopped at Food Lion for years are shocked to hear the news.

"It was very unexpected," said DeAnna Snead.

"It's sad to see it go and there are good people who work here," added Brandi Roberts.

Food Lion says it will close 113 under performing stores in the U.S., and seven in Virginia. It will also include some of its Bottom Dollar Food and Bloom stores in the transition.

After employees were notified, they posted signs at the front of the two Henrico stores which show shorter store hours; 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. as opposed to 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Nearly 5,000 people will lose their jobs. Roberts says her friend just got a promotion here. She's a single mom and relies on this job.

"This is everything," Roberts noted. "I want to cry for her because it's so hard to find a job right now and she's worked so hard for this."

Roberts says management notified them last night. Snead has family who works here. She's grown up shopping at Food Lion, and her husband is an employee.

"It's your day off. You come in for a meeting and find out you have a month left to work," Snead added.

"It's just disturbing they would do this to people," said Roberts.

In a press release, the company says it'll provide severance to eligible associates but does not go into further detail.

"I would never shop with them again," said Roberts. "I would never spend a penny towards someone who would do this to their employees- people they claim to care about."

As an unusually desolate parking lot leaves people to wonder something's wrong. The posted sign says the stores will close February 15th.  Customers will just have to find somewhere else to shop.

The company will also close down its distribution centers in Tennessee, but it will keep the ones open in North and South Carolina. A spokesperson says Virginia is a key focus in the company's goal.

It states this business strategy is part of a plan to improve it's growth a success in the future. While it's closing certain stores for now, it plans to open 600 to 700 more in the future.

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