Greenbrier to Lose Only Grocery Store

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 18:43:45-04

Bill Martin Foods has been the only grocery store in the small town of Greenbrier for years, but a disagreement over the business's lease has forced the store to permanently close soon.

The store has been a staple in the city, and left many upset.

"It's sad for them and for us," said employee Kathy Withers. "It feels like losing your family."

Withers has only worked at the store since June, but said she's shopped there since she first moved to town in 1991. She described her customers as family and the store as a second home for dozens.

"They treat you like they really care about you," Wither said. "A lot of people will miss this."

The store's owner, Bill Martin, owns four grocery locations including the Greenbrier store - a space he rents.

Recently, the property owner asked 95-year-old Martin to renew his Greenbrier lease for at least five to ten years, but Martin said at his age, a lease that long could outlive him.

"I'd be 105 years old," Martin said. "I don't want that."

Now, the store's shelves are slowly becoming empty and most items are on sale at a 10% discount. Billy Wilson, who manages the store, said the loss has been emotional for many customers.

"People were in shock, they couldn't believe it," Wilson said. "I've had them cry, I've had them hug me, kiss me. They're just sad."

Wilson said he's not sure of a specific close date, but the store will likely be out of business before Nov. 1.