Woodbury Bottom Dollar closes doors for last time

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Shoppers who pulled into the vacant parking lot at the Bottom Dollar grocery on Broad Street Monday afternoon would have been disappointed by what they found.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, all 66 Bottom Dollar stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio were shuttered. The closings are to prepare for the sale of Bottom Dollar sites to ALDI, Inc. According to a spokeswoman for Delhaize America, Bottom Dollar’s parent company, the sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the first quarter of this year.

“We want to thank Woodbury community for the support given to us over the years,” said the spokeswoman, Christy Phillips-Brown, on Tuesday.

The Woodbury Bottom Dollar opened in July 2013, and employed 60 part-time workers. A peek through the covered glass doors of the store reveal bare shelves. A sign on the door reads “Thank you for your business. Thank you for your loyalty. This store is closed.”

According to Phillips-Brown, any leftover food still on the shelves at closing time Monday was donated to Philabundance Food Bank.

Woodbury Councilman Bill Fleming said he doesn’t expect the new owners to make any announcements until after the sale is final. However, he added that he does not foresee the Woodbury Bottom Dollar remaining vacant for long.

“I think what we’re seeing now is they’re closing down the operations in preparation of the sale going through,” said Fleming. “(The Woodbury location) is a significant property, and there was a significant amount of money invested in it — I can’t believe they intend for it to sit idle for very long.

“I think we’ll hear from the new owners, but not much until they release what they will do with it,” he added. “I don’t think they’re prepared to say that yet.”

Later on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for ALDI released a statement that appeared to confirm Fleming’s intuition.

“Once the real estate transaction with Delhaize is completed, and we have had the opportunity to fully evaluate each location, we will communicate our intentions for the opening of new ALDI stores,” read the statement sent by company spokeswoman Julie Ketay. “We are hopeful the real estate transaction will close by the end of March 2015.”

Bottom Dollar currently has 46 stores in the greater Philadelphia area — including in Woodbury, Glassboro, Turnersville and Bellmawr — and employs about 2,200 workers.

The $15 million sale is aimed at Delhaize Group’s strategy of focusing on the “traditional” supermarket segment, according to the company.

Delhaize anticipates all 66 stores to stay open until year-end. The transaction announced Wednesday is expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.

ADLI owns stores in Woodbury, Turnersville and Upper Deerfield Township.

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