ShopRite at 304 Creek St. in Rocky Top has closed.
This raises a slight amount of concern due to the fact that ShopRite was the only full – grocery store in Rocky Top.
“There’s the Family Dollar and the Dollar General, but neither of them are a grocery store. But they do offer some food products,” said Rocky Top City Manager, Michael Foster.
Foster stated that the city and its employees always tried to support ShopRite, often buying food there for city events.
“ShopRite has done well and I’m not sure what happened. There may have been some internal issues,” Foster said.
ShopRite’s inventory began decreasing, leading Rocky Top residents to do their shopping elsewhere.
“People, if they can’t get what they want, they are going to go somewhere else. You don’t go to the grocery store to get three things here and go to Wal-Mart for four other things. You are going to go where you can get everything.”
Foster mentioned that the city and the building owner are working fast to fill the vacancy, not only for the ability to effectively provide Rocky Top residents with the ability to shop conveniently but also for current and future tax revenues for the city.
He noted that if it takes too long to get another grocery store in the city, residents might develop habits of shopping outside the city, which could negatively impact Rocky Top in the long run.
“Obviously we aren’t excited that it’s closing. Nobody wants to see a business leave but we are working with the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce and their retail development to get another grocery store in here as soon as possible,” Foster said.
He also stated that there were a few interested parties.
Foster mentioned that one of the parties interested in bringing a new grocery store to Rocky Top has looked at the success the chain store Ace Hardware has had as a deciding factor.
Even though one business is closing, Foster remains optimistic about the current state and future of Rocky Top.
“There are still good things going on in the city,” said Foster.
He noted a new retail spot with two new businesses and a Little Caesars. He noted Clayton Homes moving into the area as well.
Foster said, “We want to invest back into our community because there are a lot of good people, good churches and good businesses and we continue to see some good positive growth.”