A Farm Fresh director has cited low sales and increased grocery store competition in the region as reasons for the Norge Farm Fresh’s impending closure.
The store, at 115 Norge Lane, will close Oct. 19, said Emmett Saunders, a store manager for the Norge Farm Fresh’s sister store in Virginia Beach.
“He [the owner] just chose not to renew his lease,” Saunders said. “That’s pretty much it.”
The Norge Farm Fresh was purchased in July 2018 after Farm Fresh’s parent company SuperValu offloaded 38 of its stores in Virginia and North Carolina. Some grocery stores were bought by other retailers such as Kroger, Harris Teeter and Food Lion, while stores like the Norge Farm Fresh were closed or sold to independent buyers.
The Norge Farm Fresh was bought by Kumar Bhavanasi, the president and CEO of New Jersey-based IT service provider First Tek Inc. In addition to the Farm Fresh at 115 Norge Lane, Bhavanasi also bought one at 928 Diamond Springs Road in Virginia Beach.
Saunders said the Virginia Beach store will stay open.
“We plan on moving the [Norge] inventory to the Virginia Beach store and continuing business there,” he said.
Because the inventory will simply transfer down to the Virginia Beach store, Saunders said he doesn’t anticipate many business-closing sales in Norge.
Saunders plans to assist with the closure in Norge.
The Norge Farm Fresh employees were notified of the closure between a week and two weeks ago, Saunders said.
They were all given the option to transfer to the Virginia Beach store, but the drive is more than 50 miles and would be a long commute. He said no employees have “really inquired about it further.”
“For many of them, that’s not an option,” he said. “It’s an hour and a half drive.”
He said it’s unlikely the store will need employees to work any additional shifts after the close date of Oct. 19.