One of Vienna’s landmarks, Magruder’s Supermarket, will soon be closing according to the store’s property managers.
On Tuesday, Gary Bortnick, vice president of the supermarket chain, confirmed in a release that the owners are “currently in negotiations to sell the remaining four locations to a group who wishes to purchase the individual stores and to reopen them as quickly as possible and we are working diligently with all parties involved.”
Bortnick said that only the Magruder’s Liquor Store in Washington, D.C., will continue to operate under the Magruder’s name and is already under new ownership. The closing date of the Vienna store is undetermined, but according to a cashier there who spoke under condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the subject, the advertising for the store has only been approved through Jan. 22.
The start of the Magruder’s Supermarket chain dates back 138 years to 1875, when Ulysses S. Grant was president. Two Magruder’s stores remained in existence until 1967, when the late Louis H. Fanaroff and Stanford Steppa bought them and expanded.
At the chain’s height in 2005, there were 10 Magruder’s stores in the region, but six of those have closed over the past eight years — the last of which was a Magruder’s store in Silver Spring, Md. that closed in July. The chain’s four remaining grocery stores are located in Alexandria, Vienna, Gaithersburg, Md. and Rockville, Md.
“The Vienna store is planning to close, but we do not know when,” said Sheryl Simeck, spokesperson for the Rappaport Companies which leases and manages the Vienna Shopping Center for owners with the Vienna Shopping Center Limited Partners, a real estate investment trust.
“We’re obviously very saddened by the events. It’s a difficult circumstance for every employee,” said Mark P. Federici, president of United Commercial Food Workers Union Local 400, which represents 85 Magruder’s employees in the greater Washington, D.C., area. He said the union will be doing whatever it can to assist employees.
Federici emphasized how much the union has enjoyed its relationship with Magruder’s over the years, describing the business as “part of the Washington landscape.”
On Wednesday, Vienna residents packed the store for the beginning of a “50 percent off everything” sale. “I can’t believe it,” said Sahik Nerula, a Vienna resident who has shopped at the store for 13 years. “The produce here was the best anywhere. It has always been fresh and affordable. I am really going to miss coming here.”
In his statement Wednesday, Bortnick thanked employees and customers alike for their loyalty.
“We would like to thank everyone including our incredible management staff, our hard working United Food and Commercial Unionized employees, our outstanding vendors and suppliers and of course the most unbelievably dedicated and loyal customers that have allowed us to remain in business these past 46 years. Although this is a difficult decision, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to have been an important part of Washington history dating from the days of President Ulysses S. Grant to President Obama and 26 presidents in between. However, now is the right time for our family to move on.”