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By John Barnhart
Shoprite’s 30-year run in Moneta has come to an end.
Lewis Creasey, who owns the supermarket located on Va. 122 south of Moneta, said he will close the store, “when I sell out of merchandise.”
A precise closing date hasn’t been set, but “I know I’ll be closed out of here on Sept. 8,” Creasey said.
At present the store is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Creasey has cut back all prices by 25 percent, and plans to sell out all perishables — meat, dairy, produce and deli — this week.
“We are already verylow priced and this 25 percent reduction puts it down real cheap,” he commented.
Creasey said that he has sold the entire Shoprite shopping center, including the car wash, to a partnership called BDL LLC in Blacksburg. The sale includes all the equipment in the grocery store.
Why did he decide to sell it?
“I couldn’t pay the bill anymore,” Creasey said.
Creasey said that Shoprite has been losing money for two-and-a-half years.
“Before they closed the road, I was doing fine against Food Lion,” Creasey said. “Once they closed the road, business dropped dramatically”
The road Creasey was referring to is Diamond Hill Road. Diamond Hill Road formerly intersected with Va. 122 right in front of Creasey’s store. A Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project moved that intersection a short distance farther south to align it with Hendrick’s Store Road. The road now runs right past the Food Lion parking lot.
“That sent all the traffic over there,” he said.
“I lost 200 customers a day from the first day,” he added.
“This past two-and-a-half years have been very stressful,” he said. “I’m ready to try to take life a lot easier.”
Creasey said that he was never able to use the fishing license he got last year, but plans to get one this year.
“I’ll probably get it today,” he said during a Monday morning phone interview. “Hey, I can probably get a senior license.” Creasey is 67.
Creasey has been in the grocery business since 1961 when he started working at a Winn-Dixie store while still in high school. He got a job as an assistant store manager the week after graduating and went on to hold other jobs in the grocery store chain.
“I was one of the people who started scanning,” he said.
Creasey said that the first store in which he implemented a scanning system was the 10th in the United States to do so. Sometime later he was with a group of people who testified before a congressional subcommittee to explain how scanning worked. Creasey said that this was because a consumer group was seeking a bill that would have required stores to continue putting price stickers on individual items.
“It would have been a nightmare if that legislation had passed because it would have defeated the whole purpose of scanning,” he said.
Creasey eventually left Winn-Dixie and went into business for himself. He purchased Shoprite in 1994 and, in the past decade, moved it from its former location on Hendrick’s Store Road, greatly expanding it.
Is he sad about closing?
“I was at first,” he said in answer to that question, “but now I’m looking forward to it so I can have a little relaxation, less pressure, less stress.”