Downtown Greenville Bi-Lo Closing
Greenville is still a quaint downtown area, with most shops and restaurants within walking distance. But for many residents in the North Main Street area, the neighborhood Bi-Lo is the only grocery store they can get to.
"No, I don't have a vehicle. I just have to ride my little chair to the store and back," says Billy Everett, who rides a scooter to help his mobility.
Everett is a senior citizen resident at Tower East apartments, a mostly elderly apartment building two blocks from the Bi-Lo at the corner of North Main Street and Park Avenue. Many of the people who live at Tower East walk, or ride their scooters, to the Bi-Lo.
But pretty soon, they won't be able to do that anymore. Bi-Lo is closing the grocery store on November 30th.
"It's very inconvenient," says Everett. "It's gonna put some hardships on me and so many other people that live here in the building."
"I'm gonna miss it because I get my groceries down there. But where am I gonna go now if they close?" says Geraldine Logan, another Tower East resident. "I'm 77 years old, it's gonna be hard for me to walk up the hill to that other grocery store."
That store is a Rite Aid, which carries some food items but is primarily a pharmacy.
Bi-Lo Holdings operates 686 Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie grocery stores across eight states in the southeastern U.S., including 125 stores in South Carolina. Sources close to the situation say that increasing rent expense for the downtown location may be part of the company's decision to close this store.
In an email to News 13, the company issued the following statement:
"We have made the decision to close BI-LO store 5012, located at 505 North Main St. in Greenville, SC...on Saturday, Nov. 30. From time to time, the successful execution of our strategy will require us to make the difficult decision to close certain stores. We encourage customers to visit our other Greenville area stores that will remain open to serve them... We are proud of our history in the Greenville community and appreciate the support of our customers and BI-LO associates."
For loyal shoppers who have no other means of transportation, that may mean finding a closer alternative.
"That's gonna really put me in a bind, so I've got to find another spot," says Everett. "I don't know where that's gonna be."