Shoppers confirmed on Tuesday that the location in Franconia will be closing.
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, the union that represents Shoppers workers, said in a press release that the store will close on February 16 and that all employees currently working there will be laid off. UFCW Local 400 said that approximately 50 union employees work at the store, with an average of 16.5 years with the company.
The closing seemed all but inevitable after news broke last month that permit applications had been filed with Fairfax County to partition Shoppers into three different spaces for future businesses. However no official announcement had been made according to UFCW Local 400, leaving workers in limbo.
Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400, blasted Shoppers’ parent company, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), for their handling of the situation.
“A few weeks ago, we shared a news story with UNFI negotiators showing that the Franconia store had awarded a contract to a construction company to rehab the store,” Federici said. “In response, UNFI’s spokespeople claimed they had no knowledge of this store closing. Now, here we are, a few weeks later, and UNFI has confirmed that it does indeed plan to shutter the Franconia location and layoff all of the employees who work there.”
UNFI acquired Shoppers from another parent company in 2018. Since then 19 store closings or store sales have been announced, and the future of other Shoppers — including the Hybla Valley location at Mount Vernon Plaza — remain unclear.
Federici said negotiations over severance pay and benefits for workers affected by the closures are continuing. He also demanded that UNFI “show our union and our members some basic respect” for the work they have done.
“UNFI has claimed it wishes to “thoughtfully” divest from its retail operations, but it has clearly given no thought to the many store associates who have spent their careers making Shoppers a success,” Federici said. “This is not how a responsible employer exits our community.”
The full list of Shoppers closed or sold recently:
Five Shoppers locations sold to Compare Foods:
Shoppers #2396 – Alameda (5600 The Alameda, Baltimore, MD 21239)