Food Lion to shutter store in Chambersburg

May 25, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The parking lot in front of the Food Lion store in the Franklin Center was more crowded than usual Wednesday as shoppers sought bargains of 60 percent off on the store's remaining inventory.

"It was not making enough profit to sustain operations," Food Lion spokesman Jeff Lowrance said of the decision to close the store, which opened in 1990. The store at 1320 Lincoln Way East is scheduled to close June 3, he said.

"It's getting pretty empty," said Melinda Bayer of Waynesboro, Pa., who normally does her grocery shopping at the Martin's Foods in Washington Township. "There weren't any eggs, milk or bread," she said of her expedition down the Food Lion aisles.

Bayer did, however, load up a cart with ice cream, cat food and snacks.

Mary Truax of Chambersburg was loading her trunk with frozen foods and dinners.

"I work two jobs, so frozen food comes in handy," she said. Truax said the selection was still pretty good.


"I thought by the time I got here it would be empty," she said.

Ron Thomas of Scotland, Pa., and his family were looking for "a little bit of everything." They came out of Food Lion with cereal, frozen food and canned food.

"The store really has not been profitable for quite some time. The consumer traffic has really slowed down" at the Franklin Center, Lowrance said. "Neighborhoods change, traffic patterns change," he said.

Despite being on U.S. 30 just east of Exit 16 of Interstate 81, the Franklin Center has few tenants. Lowe's moved out several years ago to a larger space on Lincoln Way East, followed more recently by Big Lots, which moved to Southgate Mall.

Several smaller businesses also left the mall, which is still home to a tanning salon, a technical institute, a day spa, and carpet and mattress businesses.

The Food Lion has about 20 to 30 employees and the company, based in Salisbury, N.C., is assisting them in finding jobs at other stores in the area, Lowrance said. Food Lion has two other stores in the Chambersburg area - on Philadelphia Avenue and Lincoln Way West - along with stores in Greencastle, Pa., Shippensburg, Pa., Waynesboro, Hagerstown and Smithsburg, he said.

Food Lion, which has about 1,200 stores in 11 Southeast and mid-Atlantic states, has no plans to close any of the other stores in Franklin County, Lowrance said. The supermarket chain also has no plans to announce any new openings in the county, he said.

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