More than 270 Farm Fresh workers in Greater Williamsburg to be laid off

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Employees at the Farm Fresh in Norge have received 60-day notice that they will be laid off. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
Employees at the Farm Fresh in Norge have received 60-day notice that they will be laid off. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

More than 270 Farm Fresh workers in the Williamsburg area are slated to lose their jobs in a mass layoff that will impact grocery stores in Hampton Roads and Central Virginia.

The layoffs were announced on Tuesday and Wednesday through Virginia WARN. The announcement comes about a week after parent company SuperValu, Inc. announced that it intends to sell 21 of its 38 Farm Fresh stores in Eastern Virginia and Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Kroger, Harris Teeter and Food Lion will buy the Farm Fresh locations for $43 million.

Those stores include two in Greater Williamsburg. Harris Teeter is purchasing the Farm Fresh on John Tyler Highway in James City County, and Kroger will buy the store on George Washington Memorial Highway in Yorktown.

The Norge Farm Fresh is also set to change hands or close, but the outcome is undetermined because SuperValu is still searching for a buyer, SuperValu, Inc. spokesman Michael Wilken said.

The layoffs, which will impact more than 1,000 people, were announced on Tuesday and Wednesday through the Virginia Employment Commission’s Virginia WARN. All together, 273 Farm Fresh employees will be laid off from Greater Williamsburg stores.

Related story: Norge Farm Fresh employees receive layoff notice; SuperValu working to sell store

Virginia WARN had not announced layoffs for the Virginia Beach and Norfolk locations as of Wednesday. Wilken said that the company has sent WARN notifications to all Farm Fresh employees, but could not say if or when Virginia WARN would announce layoffs at specific locations.

“We continue to work with the buyers of the 21 stores to ensure a smooth transition and expect them to offer positions to many Farm Fresh employees,” Wilken wrote in an email, adding that eligible employees will likely receive severance and “job transition support.”

According to Virginia WARN, on May 14 employees from the following stores will be laid off:

  • 88 employees: 115 Norge Lane, Williamsburg
  • 88 employees: 4511 John Tyler Hwy., Williamsburg
  • 69 employees: 460 Wythe Creek Road, Poquoson
  • 92 employees: 353 Chatham Drive, Newport News
  • 100 employees: 4000 Victory Blvd., Portsmouth
  • 80 employees: 3675 Bridge Road, Suffolk
  • 95 employees: 1401 N. Main Street, Suffolk
  • 100 employees: 1282 Smithfield Plaza, Smithfield
  • 77 employees: 6500 George Washington Memorial Hwy., Grafton
  • 87 employees: 7254 George Washington Memorial Hwy., Hayes
  • 84 employees: 2320 E Main Street, Richmond
  • 77 employees: 1459 Armory Drive, Franklin

“We are confident our efforts are driving growth and enhancing our competitive position,” said SuperValu President and CEO Mark Gross, adding that the decision will allow the company to allocate more resources to their wholesale operations.

Wilken said that SuperValu is currently in “ongoing” talks to potentially sell the remaining Farm Fresh stores to wholesale customers and grocery store employees, although he could not confirm a timeline for these events.

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