Martin's leaders meet with Richmond-area store managers as merger looms

Martin's leaders meet with Richmond-area store managers as merger looms

SANDSTON, VA (WWBT) - The fate of area Martin's store could soon be revealed.

It's been announced the company that owns Martin's and the one that owns Food Lion stores, could have their merger finished by the end of the month.

And Wednesday afternoon, executives from Martin's were in Richmond to talk to store managers.

Managers from area Martin's stores met with company leaders from Pennsylvania.

Sources say during that hour and a half meeting they were supposed to have learned the fate of their stores.

One-by-one they filed out of a Henrico hotel after meeting with the company's president, but they wouldn't confirm if they talked about the upcoming merger.

When I asked company president Tom Lenkevick, he also had no comment to NBC12's questions. But, some sources are saying that some of the 19 Richmond-area Martins stores could be sold to the Publix grocery chain.

We took that possibility to shoppers like Steve Shaw.

"I had experience with Publix, I know they're a good store but I would hate to see Martin's and what they've established in the community go away," says Shaw.

Assistant Professor of Management at VCU School of Business Rob Kelley says a number of things have contributed to Martins sale.

"I think fundamentally they weren't performing as well as they would have liked. The FTC said they've got to divest their Food Lions or Martin's, they choose Martin's, coupled with Wegmans coming in probably lead to a smart conclusion on their part to sell," Kelley explains.

But, as the former of VP of Operations for Ukrop's, Kelley says if Publix were to come to town, it could be a good thing for shoppers and employees who

once worked for the store.

"My feeling is if Publix comes, those same associates will be able to come back 'home' of sorts and be the way they used to be when they worked for Ukrop's," Kelley says.

A spokesperson says the merger is under the review of the Federal Trade Commission and more details would be coming when a formal announcement is made.

Chris Brand, External Communications and Public Affairs Lead for Ahold USA released the following statement:

Ahold USA, Inc., parent company of GIANT/MARTIN'S, continues to work toward the successful completion of the proposed merger between Ahold and the Delhaize Group. The merger is currently under review by the Federal Trade Commission.  We do not have any information to share at this time and will provide more details as soon as a formal announcement is made.

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