Columbia Gerbes Supermarket closing on Nifong Boulevard
After more than 21 years, the owners of a popular Columbia grocery store announced Tuesday they were closing the Gerbes Supermarket on East Nifong Boulevard.
About 100 Nifong Gerbes employees were in shock after they heard the news of their store’s closing. Company officials said employees had the option of working at the two other Columbia Gerbes grocery stores or the two Gerbes Supermarkets in Jefferson City. Gerbes customer Jane O’Toole said she will miss her favorite grocery store.
“It’s a bit sad because, as far as all of the other grocery stores around here, I can run in here from my way home from work and literally say I am going to run in here for five minutes and grab two things," O’Toole said. "That always works here.”
Company officials did not renew their lease after they reviewed several issues including the store’s profitability. Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said grocery store wars were always underway in his city.
“It’s a great location. It’s a very busy one," McCormick said. "It’s probably one of the busiest ones in Columbia there on that corner. I wouldn’t imagine that it’s going to stay like that for very long.”
Property landlord Jay Lindner said he was confident he would replace Gerbes with another business very soon. Gerbes spokeswoman Sheila Lawrie said the decision to close the store was not an easy one.
“It’s really hard when you hear about a store closing, especially if it’s your store location," Lawrie said. "Ultimately, it’s a regrettable and necessary decision that we had to make.”
The Nifong Gerbes lease expires in January. Company officials had yet to announce a closing date.