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W.Va. grocery store to close

March 04, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Barnhart's Super Market will close on March 29 because the owner has reached an agreement with Wal-Mart to sell them his lease.

Roger Barnhart said most of the 34 employees at his grocery store in the Charles Town Plaza will be transferred to his Inwood, W.Va., and Ranson, W.Va., stores.

He also owns a grocery store in Martinsburg, W.Va.

A Wal-Mart Supercenter, which will have a grocery store, is being built at Charles Town Plaza.

Wal-Mart officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Barnhart said that under his lease, which ran through 1999, his was the only grocery store that could operate in the plaza.

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Barnhart said he could have fought to stay, but with the competition from other supermarkets that have moved into the area, he decided to negotiate a deal.

"Rather than stay there and fight the situation, I was willing to sell my lease," he said.

Barnhart would not reveal the amount he received for selling his lease.

Barnhart said that he intends to focus his efforts on his remaining three stores.

Ranson, the closest of his grocery stores to the one in Charles Town, will undergo some changes to make it more competitive with other supermarkets in the area.

Barnhart opened his Charles Town store in 1990, taking over the former location of a Foodland store.

Barnhart said that when Martin's opened nearby he was able to compete against them, but the opening of another large supermarket nearby was too much.

Barnhart said corporate supermarket chains have expanded rapidly in the area, making it more difficult for independent store owners to operate.

Barnhart bought his first supermarket 14 years ago. He started in the grocery business as a teenager, bagging groceries to earn gas money for the weekends.

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