GASSAWAY, WV (WOWK) – Braxton County residents said they’re “disappointed” after one of their only grocery stores announced it will be closing early 2023.

After over 40 years of business, Kroger announced they’re closing the location in Gassaway due to “several years of poor performance and profitability.”

According to a press release, the store currently employs 52 associates and it’s the smallest of the 109 stores located in the Mid-Atlantic Division.

Local residents who talked with 13 News said the closure will not only be a loss for the employees who will lose their jobs but the entire community.

“It’s just devastating for our community, and the workers that are in there,” said Kathy Cogar, local resident. “Some of the them have been with Kroger since it opened here and are close to retirement. If they want to stick with Kroger, they’re going to have to drive an hour in order to keep their job. So, it’s just a sad day for our community.” 

Residents will now have to find somewhere else to shop, but Cogar said that isn’t so easy in their small town.

“If this Kroger closes, the next nearest Kroger to us is 50 miles away, and it makes no sense for me to drive that far to shop,” she said. “I just find it devastating to me and this community that we’re going to lose this store.” 

Shelby Clifton, another local resident, said their only other option is the Walmart located about six miles away in Flatwoods. However, residents that spoke with 13 News said they would prefer shopping at Kroger because of their customer service and the quality of their products.

“Even though I’m told it’s a done deal and there’s no changing their minds, I really hope that they’ll think about the loyalty that these customers have shown them over the years,” Cogar said. “And if this store is just not making them rich, but still making a profit, I hope they reconsider and keep it here.”