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Some Henrico shoppers left in a lurch with Martin’s closures looming

HENRICO, Va. – Martin’s recently announced closing dates for the final three stores to be purchased by Publix. By July 2017, all 10 of the stores will have closed, and Publix said they plan to reopen their first remodeled store sometime this summer – though no date is set.

The Carytown, West Broad and Three Chopt Martin’s were the final three to close.

Three Chopt is essentially the only major grocery store near University of Richmond campus, and students like Sarah Messervey aren’t looking forward to the closure.

“It`s only five minutes, a quick drive,” she said, “we love coming here to grab sushi and mac and cheese.”

“They closed the Patterson Avenue one years ago, and this whole shopping center was built around a grocery store,” said long time Martin's customer Anne Curran.

Residents in Henrico's West End will have Libbie Market, Kroger and Fresh Market to chose from when Martin's closes.

Some neighborhoods are not just temporarily losing their nearest grocery store, but some of these Martin's not purchased by Publix may soon shut down if no buyer steps up.

That has these families worried that they may not have new place to shop that's close to them.

“I’m really, really sad to see it disappear,” said Linda Tyree; her favorite Martin's store is on Brook Road.

She's shopped there for years, and said she doesn't know where she'll shop next once it closes. Tyree said there aren't that many other options in this part of town.

A Food Lion and Walmart are near the Martin’s. But for a surrounding population of around 50,000 people, according to 2010 census data of several neighborhoods, the options seem scarce and farther than they would prefer to travel – or can travel, in some cases.

“Go further and further away from the location, you don`t have much to choose from in that manner,” Tyree said.

Evelyn Stelles lives in the adjacent Lakeside community and shops the Brook Road Martin's all the time. She's also concerned about what comes next.

“I`ve been coming to this store for many, many years,” Stelles said, “we used to go to the other one on Dumbarton but that one went out so we had to find another place to go.”

“I just told the girl in the store they have so many good things, it`s just always been a tradition in our family to use the rolls and things like that,” Stelles said.

Residents living in Dumbarton, Northside and Lakeside have fewer options with the  Martin's closure looming --and no guarantee of a new grocer taking over. A Lidl is slated to open by 2018, to serve the communities living off Dumbarton, Lakeside, Glenside and Staples Mill.

There is a chance a smaller independent grocer may opt to takeover this location or other spots not included in the Publix deal, but even if that happens, shoppers point out that it will take months to open a new place for shopping.

At the end of July 2016, the Koninklijke Ahold and Delhaize Group merger was approved. As part of the merger, the Federal Trade Commission required that 81 stores be sold to level the field, in 46 local markets in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Under the proposed consent agreement, Ahold and Delhaize would divest a total of 81 stores to seven divestiture buyers.

They were given 60 to 360 days from when the merger occurred to sell the grocery stores, and three periods were established stagger the closing of Martin’s purchased by Publix.

There are additional Martin’s in the immediate Richmond area which have no buyer, but according to the FTC terms, would have to be divested.

These remaining Martin’s are located at:

  • 253 N. Washington Hwy Ashland, VA
  • 12601 Jefferson Davis Hwy Chester, VA
  • 6401 Centralia Rd. Chesterfield, VA
  • 200 Charter Colony Pkwy Midlothian, VA
  • 7045 Forest Hill Ave Richmond, VA
  • 5700 Brook Rd Richmond, VA
  • 11361 Midlothian Tpke Richmond, VA
  • 5201 Chippenham Crossing Ctr. Richmond, VA

Though no date has been given by corporate public relations officers, the 360-day period is only months away.

The FTC has said that at the end of the 12-month period, the divestiture period may be extended by the commission if a plan is submitted and can be obtained within a reasonable time.