CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – It's the end of an era for a family-owned New River Valley grocery store.
Wade's Supermarket in Christiansburg will soon shrink to a third of its size after more than 60 years. Third-generation owner Greg Wade says he made the decision because the competition from larger supermarkets became too much to bear.
"The inventory and expenses of being a full-scale, full-size grocery store no longer works for us," Wade said.
Instead, Wade says he will retool the store to focus on hyperlocal items such as its deli, hot food bar, fresh meats and bakery.
"I would definitely prefer to call it a superette like in the old days where you've got fresh cut meat and fresh cooked chicken instead of frozen," Wade said.
Wade's once had a chain of supermarkets throughout the New River Valley, but the Christiansburg store is its last location. Christiansburg Mayor Michael Barber says he's elated the store's legacy will continue.
“It’s a name in food and grocery products that people here have trusted," Barber said. "To know that it will be here in a smaller form, there will still be some groceries to buy but I don’t blame him for cutting back.”
Meanwhile, some nearby residents such as Vernon Whitlow are disappointed to lose a supermarket within walking distance.
"My wife and I, we moved here just because the Wade's was close," Whitlow said. "We go out the back gate and walk down the street and Wade's is there. Now, we have to take the bus to the Kroger."
Wade's decision to downsize the supermarket was also influenced by his father Lowell Wade's recent death, as well as his own struggles with a serious illness. He says he hopes these changes will keep Wade's around for the long haul.
"I was born in a grocery store," Wade said. "I don't know what else to do."