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Food Lion in Gainesville closing next week
food-lion WEB

GAINESVILLE -- The Food Lion grocery store on South Enota Drive in Gainesville is closing Sept. 20.

The 20-year-old store between Park Hill Drive and Jesse Jewell Parkway has about 35 employees.

Business has withered in the past couple years under competition from nearby stores, particularly Kroger Marketplace off Jesse Jewell in New Holland and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Thompson Bridge Road, store manager John Atterholt said.

The store “is just not profitable,” he said.

Four employees will transfer to Food Lion’s Dawsonville store, Atterholt said.

The others will lose their jobs.

“I don’t have anything at this point,” added the store manager, a 9-year employee who has managed the Gainesville store for the past three years.

Atterholt broke the news last week to employees, who were hit hard but not totally surprised.

“I had been keeping them informed,” he said. “They knew it was going to happen. They just didn’t know when. Sales had really been suffering.”

Still, “even when you know it’s going to happen, it doesn’t hit you until it does happen,” Atterholt said.

The store dodged the bullet in 2012, when the grocery chain, based in Salisbury, North Carolina, closed 29 stores in Georgia, including one on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. A Food Lion store in Oakwood closed in 2010.

Corporate officials couldn’t be reached for comment.