Could Martin’s closing of one store be a sign of things to come?

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RICHMOND, VA -- Twenty-four hours after Martin's announced it would close its Dumbarton Square location, questions remain regarding the company's overall future.

That is because Martin's remains in talks with Food Lion regarding a potential merger.

"Merging with Food Lion might be a good deal -- prices might be even lower," George Stevenson, a customer said.

Others don't share that belief.

"I would have a problem with it. I would consider Kroger more than I do now," Carolyn Adams, a lover of Martin's, said.

Professor Tom Arnold of the University of Richmond, an expert in mergers, says the talk of "merging" is likely the result of the Richmond market being over-saturated with grocery chains.

"It is going to get very, very competitive," Arnold said.

Could the additions of Aldi and Wegmans to the Richmond market be the beginning of a merger between Food Lion and Martin's?

Could the additions of Aldi and Wegmans to the Richmond market be the beginning of a merger between Food Lion and Martin's?

Arnold says when Aldi and Wegmans entered the Richmond market, it forced everyone to consider their business plans.

Arnold thinks that if the merger goes through -- the Martin's name could slowly fade away.

"I would suspect Martin's would stay Martin's and Food Lion will stay Food Lion and then overtime Food Lion will probably become the name," Arnold said. "In theory, since they are able to cut a lot of their distribution costs and employment costs, they could offer lower prices."

Company officials reiterate that the merger discussions are purely discussions and they could quickly fall apart.

Martin's is planning opening a new store in Chester in 2016.

However, the mere talk of merging has some small businesses located in shopping plazas that house Martin's locations fear this could lead to more empty storefronts.

The Martin's that closed in 2013 in Gayton Crossing is still vacant.

"After they leave, we will only have about nine businesses here. We will struggle with foot traffic," Slava Kirzhner, who owns a cigarette shop near the soon to be closed Dumbarton Martin's, said.