First Street Foodfair Closing; No Longer Economically Feasible

Updated 45 weeks ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports

The FoodFair supermarket, which replaced Big Bear, at First Street will be closing Dec. 15. 

WSAZ and social media emphasized the amount of crime in the vicinity. 

Owner Tim  Forth told  WSAZ the store is "no longer economically viable" because of factors including safety concerns to employees and customers not coming to the store after dark. He illustrated that the store now closes at 8 p.m. due to safety concerns. Most other FoodFairs close at 10 p.m. 

WCHS-TV aired a report stating that Forth said off camera that  the "perception of crime on Sixth Avenue" drives customers away. He said that store employees had been threatened.

WCHS checked police records and found 15 filed "nearby" in the last year. Of those eleven occurred on the store's property. Seven were shoplifting or minor crimes. Only one incident resulted in a simple assault report. 

The Herald Dispatch quoted Forth stepping away from the "crime" reasoning. He told the newspaper that  "Unfortunately, the market conditions have deteriorated since that time, which made this location no longer economically viable for us." He told the HD, "We hate closing this location" and added that the 30 employees will be offered jobs at other Foodfairs in the region. 

A social media post said that Fortth blamed the closing of the store on Mayor Steve Williams and the Huntington Police Department for failing to address crime in the vicinity. 

Forth denied that statement in the HD: "We vehemently deny that anyone with FoodFair blamed this closing on Huntington's mayor or the police department," Forth said. "That's just not true."

Mayor Steve Williams provided WSAZ the following statement:

"I am saddened to see the 1st Street Foodfair close after 13 years of faithfully serving Huntington at that location. The Forth family has been an integral member of the business community here in Huntington and the Tri-State region. If and when Forth Foods decides to open another grocery store in Huntington, we will stand prepared to assist them in every way possible."

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