Byerly’s East Side store closing next month

The East Side Lunds & Byerlys will be closing at the end of the day on March 6. The store appeared to be operating as normal last week but that will change when the going-out-of-business discounts begin Feb. 27. (Mary Lee Hagert/Review)
The property at 1959 Suburban Avenue, which had been the location of Lunds & Byerly’s since 1972, has been purchased by Ha Tien Market, an Asian grocery store and Vietnamese deli.

Store opened in 1971 with chandeliers, carpeted floors

After 45 years of serving the East Side community, the Lunds & Byerlys store will close its doors at the end of the business day on March 6.

Aaron Sorenson, communications manager for Lunds Food Holdings Inc, stated last week that a decline in sales was causing the shuttering of the store at 1965 Suburban Ave.

“It’s no longer feasible,” Sorenson explained. While he can’t speculate on why sales have dropped, Sorenson did say that the upscale grocery store has seen a shift in neighborhood buying trends.

“Shopping habits have changed over time in that location,” Sorenson said. 

At times in the past, Byerlys was the only full-service grocery store in the Battle Creek neighborhood.  It was known for its quality meats, fresh produce, specialty products, and wide, carpeted aisles and chandelier lighting. 

The grocery landscape became more competitive in 2004 when a Cub Foods moved into the nearby Sun-Ray Shopping Center, and the Target store on Suburban Avenue gradually began to stock additional food items.  

But the slippage in patronage was perhaps most visible to passersby after a discount Aldi store opened next door to Byerlys in 2009. While the Aldi parking lot was bustling, the large Byerlys parking lot often contained only a small cluster of cars. 

Then in 2014 many neighborhood residents also began openly wondering about the East Side Byerlys’ future when Lunds Food Holdings purchased the Woodbury Rainbow Foods store from Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets. The new Lunds & Byerly’s in Woodbury was only three miles from the underperforming East Side store.

Sorenson said the company hasn’t heard directly from the community, but instead has watched the reaction through social media. Sorenson said he has seen a mixture of surprise and sadness about the closing of the East Side location.

“We’ve really enjoyed being a part of the East Side community for the past 45 years,” Sorenson said. 

As the store nears its closing date, Sorenson said that inventory will be declining, and shoppers may notice some of their favorite products are no longer on the shelves. In addition to groceries and a deli, the store has an onsite bakery, Caribou Coffee shop, Bachman’s floral area and a U.S. Bank branch.

As for the employees, Sorenson said they would be offered jobs within the company.

“It’s very important for us,” Sorenson said regarding offering employees other positions at their stores. 

“We’re sad to be closing that store as well,” Sorenson said.

Besides the location in Woodbury at 7050 Valley Creek Plaza, Sorenson mentioned the Lunds & Byerlys store at 115 E. 10th St. in downtown St. Paul as a possible alternative for loyal customers. 

As for the company-owned Suburban Avenue building, Sorenson said Lunds Food Holdings is exploring its options. However, there have been no decisions made as to what will happen with the 48,000-square-foot structure.

“It’s too early to say at this point,” Sorenson said. 

Marjorie Otto can be reached at motto@lillienews.com or at 651.748-7816. 

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Comment Here