- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Customers packed into E.W. James & Sons Supermarket in Elizabethtown on Wednesday, filling aisles, grocery carts and the parking lot as the life of the store neared an end.
Employees were told Wednesday morning the store would close as soon as its inventory was gone. Customers were greeted with a 50 percent discount on all items.
As news among customers spread, the vast parking lot became a sea of vehicles and loaded carts.
“It has been busy,” said store manager Angela Owens. The discount will be in place until all items are gone, she said.
Gary Byrd, a supervisor with E.W. James, said growing competition in Elizabethtown made it difficult for the store to succeed.
“The market is pretty saturated with grocery stores,” he said. “We have great associates, a good facility. There’s a lot of competition in town.
“We did the best we could do,” he said. “We didn’t get the sales needed to stay in the market.”
Byrd said the decision to close the store, which has been open since 2004, shouldn’t have been a surprise to the staff of between 20 and 30 employees.
“Our employees are pretty smart and they know the volume of business needed to pay our bills and to be profitable,” he said. “It has declined.”
E.W. James & Sons operates 15 stores, including 13 in Tennessee and one in Mississippi. A store in Hickman is the only other location in Kentucky. The company also operates four Sav-A-Lot markets, three in Tennessee and one in Arkansas.
“It’s time, after eight years, to focus our efforts on stores in the South,” Byrd said.
Byrd praised store employees, many who were in place when E.W. James took over the store from Winn-Dixie.
“Many have been loyal, long-term employees who have been with us from Day 1 and were willing to stick it out for the long haul,” he said.
Byrd said employees would be paid for accrued vacation and personal time and assistance will be provided to help find jobs.
E.W. James recently remodeled and opened a liquor store to stay competitive and meet customers’ needs, Byrd said.
“It was an effort to try and increase our sales and cater to that market,” he said. “We tried our best. Sometimes in business it is just best to move on.”
Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at (270) 505-1757 or at email@example.com.