Publix will purchase two of Western Supermarkets' four stores; a third will close, while the remaining location is up for sale
Western Supermarkets, an independent grocery store with four locations in the Birmingham, Ala. area, is closing after 70 years in operation.
“When I became involved in ownership in 1987, our goal was to maintain Western as Birmingham’s leading independent grocer. With the help of the loyal and talented people on the Western team, we’ve achieved that goal,” said owner Ken Hubbard, who has been a part of the Western Supermarkets family since he began as a bag boy in 1960. “We’ve taken Western as far as we can. It’s time to exit the business that has been my life’s work.”
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Markets, which currently operates 10 stores in the area, will purchase two of the four stores: the Lane Parke store in Mountain Brook that will become a Greenwise location set to open this summer, and the Rocky Ridge store in Vestavia Hills, which will be torn down and rebuilt as a Publix. The Highland Avenue store is located in a shopping center that is under redevelopment and will close in the coming weeks. The Village Market in the East Lake area of the city is for sale.
“Many of our employees have worked at Western their entire careers. Treating them fairly, giving them plenty of notice, and helping them find employment is now our mission,” Hubbard added. “I am committed to that.”
In letters alerting them to the closures, employees were encouraged to seek employment with Publix. “Our people made Western a special place for our customers," Hubbard noted. "They will continue to provide that same level of service, wherever they work.”
An inventory liquidation sale will begin Jan. 9, with all wine priced at 20 percent off retail; the remaining inventory liquidation will begin Jan. 30.
Western was recognized by Progressive Grocer as an Outstanding Independent in the "Wow" Factor category in 2015.