Bi-Lo in Columbus closing in June after 24 years

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017

COLUMBUS – The Bi-Lo grocery store in Columbus is closing its doors after 24 years.

Employees were alerted of the closing last Friday, April 28 with the store closing in about eight weeks, near the end of June.

There are approximately 45 employees at the Columbus Bi-Lo.

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Joe Caldwell, Manager, Corporate Communications with Southeastern Grocers LLC out of Jacksonville, Fla. told the Bulletin Monday that closing stores is difficult.

“While closing stores is never easy for any retailer, we have made this difficult decision after carefully considering the state of the business and the feasibility of reinvesting for our customers,” Caldwell said. “From time to time, the successful execution of our strategy will require us to make the difficult decision to close stores.”

Caldwell said the store is tentatively scheduled to close in June and will affect approximately 45 associates who are employed there.

Caldwell also said while they will not be able to give an alternate opportunity to every employee, the store will place as many of its associates as possible at other jobs at area Bi-Lo stores.

Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said the biggest thing he hates about the store closing is people losing their jobs.

“(Bi-Lo representatives) did say they would try to place employees elsewhere but there has to be an opening,” McIntyre said.

As far as revenue for the town, the store’s closing won’t affect it much because the town will still receive tax revenue from the building and the land.

As far as what could take the Columbus Bi-Lo’s place in that location, Caldwell said they cannot speculate on what will happen to the space. The store leased the building.

Bi-Lo in Columbus is located at 651 W. Mills Street.

There is another Bi-Lo store nearby in Landrum.