Food City a no-show at Bluefield board meeting - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Food City a no-show at Bluefield board meeting

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BLUEFIELD (WVVA) - The CEO of K-VAT -- parent company of Food City -- "respectfully declined" an invitation to meet with Bluefield city officials, citing a previous "longstanding commitment."

Mayor Linda Whalen said at the city board meeting Tuesday that CEO Steve Smith had acknowledged the city's invitation and informed the board he would not be able to attend in a letter sent to the city.

The city had invited Smith to Tuesday's meeting to discuss the company's use -- or lack thereof -- of the vacant Kroger building on Cumberland Road.

K-VAT took over the lease of the building shortly after longtime inhabitant Kroger left early in 2012. The company had previously stated it had no plans to open a store in the building.

City officials have said having an active business inhabit the building is crucial to the city's economy.

Whalen said Smith is expected to meet with co-owner of the building Tom Lilly to discuss the terms of the lease.

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