Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Retail

Andersons closing Sylvania food store

96 jobs lost, but positions may be relocated

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A 10-year experiment by the The Andersons Inc. to operate a food-only store in Sylvania has failed.

On Monday, the Monclova Township agribusiness said it has pulled the plug on its Andersons Market at 7638 W. Sylvania Ave. and King Road and the store will close by mid-November.

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The Andersons Fresh Market in Sylvania Township food-only store ‘did not provide sustainable returns.’

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The store will reduce its hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and an inventory liquidation will begin with 10 percent off starting Sunday.

The jobs of 96 full and part-time store employees will be eliminated. But the company said it is working to place as many as possible in open positions at its two general stores in Toledo and Maumee.

The closing won’t affect the status of the local stores, or two stores in Columbus, spokesman Deb Crow said.

“The decision to close the Sylvania Market was difficult,” Dan Anderson, president of The Andersons Retail Group, said in a statement. “The Sylvania Market was an original concept for the company that focuses on specialty foods. Transitioning to a food-only location presented unique challenges, and sales year after year did not provide sustainable returns.”

An official of Tomahawk Development Co. of Maumee, which owns the 31,000-square-foot market, said the The Andersons lease was expiring soon and the company decided to close the store rather than renew.

“They were coming near the end of the lease. We tried to work with them and give a them lease to make them want to stay. But they just weren’t able to make it work,” Tomahawk President George Lathrop said.

Mr. Lathrop said he will begin marketing the property immediately and has “a whole laundry list of people” who might be interested.

The building, he said, is set up for retail but could be converted easily to office space.

The Andersons broke ground for its gourmet market concept in October, 2006, and opened the store in April, 2007. It differed from Andersons general stores as it carried only food and not clothing, hardware, automotive, and lawn care items. At the groundbreaking, Mr. Anderson said the company had observed how its food business growing significantly and decided it was time to open a smaller food-only store, rather than another large general merchandise and food store.

“At some point, you’ve got to give it a try,” Mr. Anderson had said following a year’s worth of visits to similar gourmet food stores.

The new store opened with about 25 percent regular grocery items, and the rest is devoted to specialty items such as produce, deli, fresh meats, wine, and beer. But the company soon tweaked the concept to add more regular grocery items. Later it became known for its large section of locally grown produce and its meat section run by area retailer House of Meats.

But The Andersons overall retail numbers have never been great.

In its most recent quarterly financial report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, its retail segment listed revenues totaling $66.1 million for the first six months of 2016, down 5 percent from the first half of 2015. And the operating profit for the retail group showed a loss of more than $1 million for the six months this year, up from a loss of $700,000 for the same period a year earlier.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

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