The Ukrop’s store in the Fan District, which has been in operation at Harrison and Grace Sts. since 2003, is set to close is less than a month, according to the first letter reprinted below. The letter that follows it is from a reader, Rad Tollett, who is unhappy with the news. A copy of the […]
The Ukrop’s store in the Fan District, which has been in operation at Harrison and Grace Sts. since 2003, is set to close is less than a month, according to the first letter reprinted below.
The letter that follows it is from a reader, Rad Tollett, who is unhappy with the news. A copy of the first letter was supplied to The Hub by Linda Lafoon in Ukrop’s main office. It was signed by Manuel Derderian, General Manager, Ukrop’s Grace Street and Bobby Ukrop, President & C.E.O., Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc.
April 10, 2008
Dear Valued Customer,
We are writing to let you know that after careful consideration, we have made a decision to permanently close our Harrison and Grace Street location at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, 2008.
This decision was not an easy one to make. When we acquired this store in October 2003, we were both excited and somewhat anxious about Ukrop’s first opportunity to operate a retail grocery store in a “downtown ” environment. Additionally, we made a sizeable investment to renovate the store and have attempted many different strategies during the last five years to generate and grow the business. However, in spite of our best efforts, we continue to operate this location at a significant deficit; doing so can no longer be an option for us, especially in light of today’s economy.
It is our goal not to leave the location vacant for an extended period of time, and we are doing our best to find another organization to utilize this site. In fact, since making our decision to close this store, we have been in communication with both our landlord and other nationally recognized businesses attempting to find an alternative retailer to take over this location.
In addition, some of our customers will be impacted by the closing of our pharmacy. In order to ensure that your prescriptions continue to be filled at a location that is relatively convenient to you, effective at the close of business on May 10, we have made arrangements for your records to be transferred to the CVS Pharmacy (a 24 hour store) located at 2738 West Broad Street (Corner of Boulevard and Broad Streets), Richmond, VA 23220. If you have any questions regarding your prescriptions after this date, you may call CVS Pharmacy Team Leader Scott Germain at (804)359-2497.
We are also pleased to share that, as with our previous store closings, all of our associates who have faithfully served you at our Grace Street store will be offered positions at other Ukrop’s locations.
We do realize many of you may be disappointed that we are closing the store; frankly, we are, too. We appreciate your years of loyal patronage and do hope you will continue to shop at other Ukrop’s. Two of our locations are listed, and we encourage you to take advantage of the coupons below (at any of our stores), good for 10% discount off a shopping trip during the four weeks listed…
The people who work at the store (“associates”) were informed on April 10 that the store would be closing, said Lafoon, who added that the letter itself was mailed out today to customers.
As mentioned above, not all of Ukrop’s customers are happy with the closing, or with the effort Ukrop’s management made while the upscale local grocery store chain operated the failed store. Rad Tollett sent the open letter to Ukrop’s which displayed below to the Fan District Hub this morning (which prompted this story to be written and posted):
An Open Letter to Ukrop’s
As a resident of the Fan, I have been disappointed with your Grace Street store since its conversion from Community Pride. The produce is clearly second hand — yes, we notice that you deliver the milk with the earliest expiration date to this store — the prepared foods are substandard, the organic section is lacking in almost all respects, the décor has not been updated in decades, and the customer service is clearly below Ukrop’s standards (in comparison to the other two stores I have visited — Carytown and Patterson/Three Chopt).
As a result of these conditions, my family has to drive to Ukrop’s Carytown. This act pains me considering I’m within walking distance from the corner of Harrison and Grace.
You can blame poor sales, but the reality is you never tried to make this store work. Frankly, you targeted the wrong demographic — the Community Pride demographic. You chose to stock your aisles with items that Kroger (Lombardy and Broad) offered at a better, more affordable rate. Moreover, you were blind to the demands of the wealthier and more socially conscious demographic right out your back door.
Combined with the redevelopment east of Belvidere, your store was positioned to be THE locale for groceries from the Boulevard to 14th street, but through poor management you are leaving a neighborhood high and dry. May your exit bring us a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Those institutions will show you what could have been.
– Rad Tollett