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‘Save my store,’ Giant/Martin’s workers rally to keep jobs amid sale

Posted at 6:51 PM, Mar 23, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. – News that 20 Richmond-area Martin's stores will be sold following the mergers of Martin's and Food Lion companies has employees and customers stressed.

Dozens of frustrated workers are anxious to know the real ramifications of a planned merger between the parent companies. Recent published reports indicate more than 80 stores along the East Coast could be sold.

Nearly two dozen Richmond-area Martin's stores and Giant stores in the Fredericksburg area could also close.

Robyn Wheeler has worked at Giant for over 35 years; her family even longer. She wants the companies to do everything to keep them working.

"We just want to keep our benefits and stuff," Wheeler said, "it's our livelihood."

“Altogether, 95 years between my daughter, son-in-law and my dad. It's all I know. Giant Food raised me.”

Giant workers participated at a union rally in Fredericksburg.

Sue Lunn said she is just one day away from her 36-year anniversary at the store.

“It's painful,” Lunn said. “You're scared and you don't know what to do, but you get into work and you're kind of lost, just walking around and in a daze.”

“They don't understand why all of their years of service to their community and their employer has brought them to this spot,” said union president Mark Frederici. "They don't understand why them."

A company spokesperson recently told CBS 6 News it was too early to speculate about potential store closings.

“We just want to maintain our jobs, keep our benefits,” Wheeler said. “It's our livelihood. It's all we've got.”

"The companies have apparently decided to sell 20 Martin’s units in the Richmond area and will keep about 45 Food Lion stores open in that market, essentially pulling the plug on the former Ukrop’s stores it acquired in 2010 for $140 million,"Food World reported. "Those stores would seemingly represent an overlap issue for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which has yet to make its divestiture list public before we went to press."

The stores Food World identified as "overlapping" include:

253 N. Washington Hwy Ashland, VA
12601 Jefferson Davis Hwy Chester, VA
6401 Centralia Rd. Chesterfield, VA
3107 Boulevard #15 Colonial Heights, VA
10150 Brook Rd Glen Allen, VA
9645 W. Broad Glen Allen, VA
10250 Staple Mill Rd Glen Allen, VA
13700 Hull Street Rd. Midlothian, VA
200 Charter Colony Pkwy Midlothian, VA
3522 W Cary St, Richmond, VA
10001 Hull St. Rd. Richmond, VA
3460 Pump Rd Richmond, VA
2250 John Rolfe Pkwy Richmond, VA
7045 Forest Hill Ave Richmond, VA
5700 Brook Rd Richmond, VA
7055 Three Chopt Richmond, VA
11361 Midlothian Tpke Richmond, VA
4591 South Laburnum Ave Richmond, VA
5201 Chippenham Crossing Ctr. Richmond, VA
1015 Richmond Ave. Staunton, VA

Ahold USA, Inc., parent company of GIANT/MARTIN'S, issued the following statement about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) process.

"We do not anticipate any store closures as part of the FTC merger approval process. Rather, they would be purchased by another retailer as part of the divestiture process and operate as another grocery retailer. It is too early to speculate on the outcome of the FTC process."

With nearly 4,000 full-time employees, Food Lion was ranked among the Top 10 local employers, according to a list compiled by the Richmond Times Dispatch. Martin's was not on the list.

Late last year, Martin's announced the grocery store chain would close three Richmond-area stores in 2016 because of expiring leases.

Those stores included:

  • 3330 South Crater Road in Petersburg
  • 7324 Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville
  • 3000 Stony Point Road in Richmond

This is a developing story. Anyone with additional information can submit a news tip here.

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