Archer’s market closes ‘for renovations,’ store’s reopening status is unknown

Archer’s Food Center closed without notice on Tuesday, Jan. 30, leaving only a sign on the door saying the business was closed for “renovations.” (photo:G. Chambers Williams III )
Archer’s Food Center, a Norris staple for more than four decades, abruptly closed without notice last week.

Customers approaching the store in downtown Norris on Tuesday, Jan. 30, were greeted with a sign taped on the front door that says, “Due to Renovations Archer’s will be closed until further notice. Please be patient with us during this time. Thank you!”

Since that time, there appears to have been no one inside the store, as a parcel that was left tucked into the bottom of the front door was still there as of Monday, and no renovations of any kind appear to have begun.

There had been speculation in the community for several months that the downtown area’s only grocery store might not be open much longer, since it changed hands in February 2023 and then changed management again a few weeks later.

Customers have complained for months that stock in the store was not being replaced or renewed, and that often the dairy section was empty, and no fresh bread was available.

Recently, customers had reported that there was no meat available in Archer’s meat department, which had long been a popular staple of the business.

Harry Patel, who bought the business from the family of the previous owner, Wayne Chaniott, appeared before the Norris Beer Board in March 2023, and received a permit for the store.

But Patel this past week could not be reached at the telephone number he provided The Courier News at the Beer Board meeting, and has not returned calls after messages were left seeking comment on the store’s closing.

Likewise, The Courier News has been unable to reach the owner of the Norris Town Center building that houses Archer’s, a dentist’s office, and a closed restaurant. That owner also has not returned phone calls seeking information about the building or the status of Archer’s.

There is a movement underway in Norris to look into setting up a nonprofit grocery co-op in the Archer’s space, but so far no one involved in that effort has been able to contact the Archer’s owner, either.

As of now, the only place to buy any grocery items in downtown Norris is at the Norris Market, a gasoline/convenience store directly across West Norris Road from the post office.

That store does sell fresh milk among its limited stock, but does not have any bread.

The manager said Sunday, however, that he has contacted a bakery to begin providing bread products to the store, and that deliveries should begin within the next week or so.

Chaniott, who owned Archer’s for 40 years, retired and sold the business last year, and subsequently died of cancer. He bought Archer’s from the founder, George Archer. The store is on the west end of the Norris Town Center complex at 27 W. Norris Rd.

The entire Town Center property, which also includes the Norris Post Office, was purchased early last year by Starpoint Development, LLC., which is owned by lawyer Ameesh Kherani and his brother, Eddie.

According to a note on its door, Ameesh Kherani has closed his law office on Andersonville Highway in the same building as the Appalachia Family Dentistry practice of his wife, Dr. Sonia Kherani. He also has offices in Knoxville and Jacksboro.

Starpoint LLC and the Kheranis have no connection with the new Archer’s owner, other than leasing the building to him.