UPDATE: Witherbee's Market and Deli announced on their Facebook page today that they'll be closing soon. Here's the announcement:
So it appears that Flint's experiment with a downtown grocery store is over. I know there was a very complicated financing package in place to get Witherbee's up and running, but it's hard for me to understand why it's preferable for the creditors to close the store down instead of simply lowering the rent. Isn't some rent better than no rent?
Here's the post that ran August 8, 2011:
UPDATE: This post originally ran on June 14, 2010. Now, a little over a year later, Witherbee's Market appears to be on its last legs. Kris Turner of The Flint Journal reports:
The downtown grocery store, which opened in June 2010, isn’t making enough money to cover its bills, said David White, one of the market’s co-owners. It's located at 601 Martin Luther King Ave.
“We probably should have closed two months ago, but we’ve been hanging on hoping something will change,” he said.
The 10,000 square-foot store needs to generate more than $1 million in sales a year to meet its needs, White said. It has done about half that and is struggling to get by, he added.
The store had 15 employees when it opened and is now down to seven. Its utility bills are $8,000 a month in the winter — an astronomical cost that’s almost impossible to keep up with, White said.
And then there’s the rent. At $10,000 a month, Witherbee’s can’t afford to stay in its space. The store got a $4,000 reprieve on its rent from February to September but it hasn’t been enough.
Here's the original post from June 14, 2010:
I took a break from transcribing interviews to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Witherbee's Market & Deli at 601 Martin Luther King Avenue this morning. In addition to a big crowd of locals, including Mayor Dayne Walling, a Japanese film crew was on hand to document the event, confirming that you never know what to expect in Flint.