Three years after buying into the Richmond grocery scene by gobbling up Ukrop’s, Martin’s Food Markets is closing a location in the West End.
The Martin’s grocery store at Gayton Crossing shopping center will be shut down by Oct. 26, the grocery chain announced Monday.
The 38,000-square-foot store, which sits back-to-back with a Kroger store, wasn’t hitting the numbers set by Martin’s and its Dutch parent company Ahold, the chain said.
“As with any business, we have goals that are put in place for each of the stores and of course we feel it’s very good business practice to continually evaluate our store base,” said Martin’s spokesman Chris Brand. “In this case, it was a very difficult decision, but in the end [the Gayton location] was not achieving those goals.”
Martin’s was the region’s top grocer over the past year, according to a report released in June by Food World, a trade publication. It found Martin’s controlled 16.6 percent of the local market share.
Brand said Martin’s does not release store-specific sales figures.
Martin’s leases the property at 9782 Gayton Road from Gayton Crossing owner Regency Centers. It co-anchors the center with Kroger making for some stiff competition, said Regency Centers’ Luke Pucinelli, property manager for the shopping center.
“When Gayton Crossing was developed in the early ’80s, we were able to get away with that, given that Ukrop’s was kind of the boutique grocer in Richmond and really had its own following,” he said. “When you have two larger chains side-by-side that compete for the same customer, that’s difficult.”
Pucinelli said he’s confident that the Martin’s store will get filled.
“We’re going to market the space to all of our national clients,” he said. “Given the occupancy rate in Short Pump, we feel there may be some great overflow of big box retailers that may be looking to land at Gayton Crossing.”
Jim Ashby, a broker with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, will market the space for Regency Centers.
Brand reiterated that Martin’s will continue to invest in the Richmond market. The chain will still have 23 stores in the area, including several nearby the Gayton location on John Rolfe Parkway, West Broad Street and Pump Road. It is working to open a new 74,000-square-foot store at Charter Colony in Midlothian.
The Gayton store has 97 employees, 37 of whom are full-time workers.
The part-time workers will be offered positions in nearby stores, Brand said. The full-time employees will receive severance and transition support, or can attempt to move to other stores.
Martin’s Gayton location opened as a Ukrop’s in late 1981. It was one of 25 locations that Ahold acquired in 2010 with its buyout of Ukrops.
It’s a smaller space than what the chain typically takes on today, with store sizes ranging from 50,000 square feet up to 100,000 square feet at its superstores in Pennsylvania, Brand said.
Martin’s has no plans to close any other stores, he said.