Save-A-Lot closing

No one will say when, but shelves are getting bare

Clinton’s Save a Lot grocery store is about to close its doors, according to reports from several store employees and customers, although company officials so far have refused to confirm the reports or return phone calls or emails from The Courier News.

Shelves at the store, at 512 Clinch Ave. in South Clinton, held less Tuesday, and staff at the checkouts were telling customers the store was closing. No one would say when the final day would be, but it was clear shelves were not being restocked.

In a telephone call to the store last week, a store manager who identified himself only as “Charles” said in response to a question about whether the store was closing:

“I can neither confirm nor deny that.”

He referred the newspaper to the parent company of the store, Houchens Industries, Inc., of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Two calls to the Houchens media relations contact, Kyle Wilson, were not returned.

Save a Lot corporate media relations manager Sarah Griffin at that company’s headquarters in St. Ann, Missouri, said the Clinton store is an independent operator of a Save a Lot franchise, and she could not discuss anything about the store.

She also would not provide the name of the store’s operator or a contact number.

According to its website, Houchens Industries was “founded in Glasgow, Kentucky, by Ervin G. Houchens in 1917 as Houchens Foods.”

“A century later, Houchens Industries operates more than 400 retail grocery, convenience, and neighborhood market stores across 16 states,” the website ( notes. “Complemented by a strong foundation of diverse companies and 18,000 employees corporate-wide, Houchens Industries is listed by Forbes as one of the largest 100% employee-owned companies in the world.”

A new NAPA auto parts store opened next door to the Save a Lot in the same shopping center last month, having moved from its prior location a few blocks away. NAPA assistant manager Ann Shope said Tuesday that their company did not know the Save a Lot store would be closing when they decided to move their parts store next door.

“We just found out last week that they were closing,” Shope said, adding that it was a surprise.

Asked whether she thought the grocery’s closing would hurt business at the new NAPA store, Shope said:

“It shouldn’t affect us. We still have the same customer base.”

She did say that it would have been nice to have the supermarket next door to bring traffic into the shopping center.

The exact closing date was not known Tuesday, and calls to the store’s published phone number were met with a busy signal.

Also, the store’s usual ad showing weekly specials was absent from the Save a Lot corporate consumer website on Tuesday.