Value Plus grocery store in Oak Hill is in its final days - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Value Plus grocery store in Oak Hill is in its final days

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There's only days before the doors are closed for good at the Value Plus grocery store in downtown Oak Hill.

Store owner, David Stephens, says it's the end of a personal chapter.  "It's going to be strange because I've been in the grocery business 42 years," says Stephens.  "This is the only thing I've ever really done."

Stephens tells WVVA that he had a good relationship with his landlord, but he could not commit to another five year lease and competing with Wal-Mart and Kroger.

"You're sort of caught between the war between the two giants, so it's hard for an independent [store]," says Stephens.

This isn't the only business leaving Oak Hill though; K-Mart is on its way out too.

Residents are worried about what this will do for their community.

"I'm sure that's hurtful.  There's not that many businesses here in Oak Hill anyway.  And I know it's just going to be a terrible burden, financial burden, for everyone involved," says Rev. Gordy Barnard, a long time Value Plus shopper and concerned resident.

Residents aren't the only ones disappointed.  Stephens says it was his hope for the city and his store that someone else would take the business over.  "I basically was willing to give, just low ball, the equipment just to get somebody in here because I really didn't want to hurt the community.  I really wanted to keep it open.  I wanted my employees to still have a job," says Stephens. 

City officials say it's up to the people to decide the fate of the location.

"Fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, I believe it's time for us to step back and look and wait and see if the market will support a grocery store in this location in the future," says Bill Hannabass, Oak Hill City Manager.

Hannabass also encourages residents to try and keep their spending in Oak Hill, especially at a time like this.  "We all need to focus on shopping locally.  It keeps those dollars local.  It keeps tax revenue locally, so that your streets and your sidewalks and your infrastructures remain in good repair," says Hannabass. 

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