Feb. 26--The Bi-Lo grocery store located at 1149 York St. will close in July.
It is one of several store locations closing in the next several months. Aiken's store is scheduled to close July 12 and officials said it will affect about 85 jobs.
According to a press release from Bi-Lo Holdings, the company will be closing 13 stores throughout South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Closings will begin March 22 and end with Aiken's closing in July. No other Aiken County locations were listed for closure.
The move is part of an approval process with the Federal Trade Commission. The commission has allowed Bi-Lo Holdings to acquire several other supermarket chains including Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's from the Delhaize Group.
The agreement was pending the divestiture -- or closing -- of 12 stores by Bi-Lo Holdings and a stipulation that the Delhaize Group could retain two stores and convert them to the Food Lion banner.
When asked the reason for the closures, Vice President of Communications Brain Wright said it had to do with geographic proximity.
"When you have stores that are close to one another, there's really no need for one store to cut into the business of another, and that's the case with a lot of the different stores in these areas," Wright told the Aiken Standard.
President and CEO Randall Onstead added in the press release that the company knew the acquisition would mean closing several locations.
"Given the number of stores we are acquiring, we anticipated that we may be asked by the FTC to divest some stores to close the deal," Onstead wrote. "We appreciate the many contributions our associates in these stores have made, and we will ensure they are treated respectfully and have the opportunity to pursue other open positions in nearby stores."
The closing will leave Aiken with one Bi-Lo location at 1016 Pine Log Road, as well as the Reid's store right across from the other Bi-Lo at 1048 York St.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June.
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