Just as Thomson is celebrating many new businesses, one of its older ones is saying goodbye.
The Thomson Food Lion will close its doors for good this week, a company spokesman said. Jeff Lowrance, corporate communications manager for the grocery chain, said that the closing "depends on how quickly it can sell down the inventory and transfer it to other stores."
The store, which was built in 1987, has been inundated with shoppers taking advantage of a going-out-of-business sale. The closing is part of a larger plan to close 41 Food Lion stores.
"They (the stores) are unprofitable," Lowrance said. "It's costing the company more to operate than they are bringing in."
The reaction from shoppers was mixed.
"I think it's pretty bad," said Amy McGill, from Warrenton. "The economy is tight enough as it is. We're such a rural area, jobs are hard to come by."
Nevertheless, shoppers are enjoying the sale. When it was announced, the reduction was 25 percent off all items, excluding tobacco and alcohol. By Friday, that number had grown to 40 percent, and the shelves were beginning to empty.
"It's a bargain," Warrenton resident Wanda Ivey said of the sale. "It also gives us less grocery stores to shop at."
Some shoppers got nostalgic when asked to talk of the closing.
"I'm gonna miss it. It was very convenient for me," said Katie Paul, a Thomson resident who lives across the street from the store.
Lowrance went on to comment on the job status of the 27 employees who will be affected by the closing. He said that there are openings at nearby Food Lion stores for the employees to consider.
"We're encouraging these folks to apply for these positions," he said. "Additionally, any associates that are displaced are receiving a severance package, both full time and part time."
Though new businesses have been popping up all over McDuffie County during the past year - most notably the creation of a strip shopping center adjacent to Wal-Mart - this isn't the first time a major business has been forced to close in Thomson. Several years ago, a Kmart store saw its profits dry up and went out of business after Wal-Mart opened its doors.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.