Jim’s Local Market in Newport News to close Jan. 31

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A grocery store built in a “food desert” in Newport News will close its doors this week.

Jim’s Local Market opened in May of 2016 and brought fresh local food to the Peninsula. A “food desert” is an area that does not have a grocery store or anywhere to get food for several miles.

Related: Media tour of Jim’s Market in April 2016

10 On Your Side was there for the grand opening, which featured large crowds of people. The City of Newport News sent a statement on the store’s closing to 10 On Your Side on Monday:

It is disappointing that Mr. Scanlon has decided to close his store, and we are working toward an orderly and swift transition to a new operator. Mr. Scanlon has introduced three prospects to us, one of which has issued a Letter of Intent.  All parties are actively engaged to insure that another full-service grocery store opens at the premises as soon as possible.

There were long lines and many empty shelves inside Jim’s Local Market Tuesday.

The closing comes to the dismay of customers. “I don’t like the idea that it’s closing,” said Newport News resident Angela Royal.

Hampton resident Shannika Sanders told 10 On Your Side, “I really think it’s going to hurt the area, but at the same token if business is not where it needs to be then they gotta do what they gotta do.”

We spoke to Mayor McKinley Price, who said, “I’m really disappointed that we couldn’t make it work.”

Royal said she shopped at the store every week. “Some of the prices are a little high but it’s here. You can’t find it anywhere else. It’s close to us,” she said.

Now she’ll have to catch a ride somewhere else much farther away.

“We sure need it here. It was a blessing and we’re going to need another one,” Royal said.

Although news of the closing surprises some, Mayor Price said city leaders have known about problems at the store for some time now.

“It’s been challenging, the community has not supported it as much as it could. There’s been some challenges with theft as well,” Mayor Price said.

The mayor admits it’s been difficult to find a replacement. While there are prospects, he explained any business needs help to sustain.

“We’re trying our best to replace Jim’s Local Market and that if we do and we are successful the community’s going to have to support it,” Mayor Price said.

Owner Jim Scanlon didn’t want to talk on camera, but said his sales weren’t what was projected and the profit wasn’t good.

After tomorrow he’ll be donating anything unsold to the food bank. He called the closure unfortunate.

The store will close Jan. 31.

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