Shorty's, grocery in downtown Lexington, is closing (published Sept. 29)

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comSeptember 28, 2013 

Shorty's, The Urban Market is at 163 West Short Street.

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

Shorty's, The Urban Market, which was welcomed by people wanting a grocery store in downtown Lexington, is going out of business, general manager Jonathan Henderson said Saturday.

The store was not making enough money to survive, Henderson said.

Inventory at the independently owned grocery store and deli in the Traditional Bank building on West Short Street will be sold at a going-out-of-business sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Monday through Wednesday. The store opened in May 2011.

A Sept. 22 post on the store's Facebook page said that Shorty's would be closed for a week for "cleaning, re-shelving and inventory" and would reopen Monday.

But Henderson said the decision was made Friday to close permanently. The reasons were "purely financial," he said.

"It's really unfortunate. It's a big part of people's lives down here. ... There was just not a lot of support."

"We did have a lot of repeat business — a lot of customers that come and see us daily that depend on us. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough," Henderson said.

Another downtown grocery store, Town Branch Market on East Main Street, is doing well, General Manager Robin Feeney said Saturday.

"We've had to change our business model a little bit as we've gone along. We've done real well with it," Feeney said.

Feeney said one adjustment is that Town Branch Market opened a deli to serve customers who don't cook much and want meals that are easy to prepare or easy to pick up.

Meanwhile, several customers posting on Shorty's Facebook page Saturday and shopping at Shorty's Cellar 157, a wine shop next door to the market, said news of the closing made them sad. The wine shop is also closing, Henderson said.

Jennifer Robinson, who lives downtown, said she saw a post on Facebook about the closing and went to the market Saturday to see for herself. The market was closed Saturday, and a note about the going-out-of-business sale was on the door.

"I am upset," Robinson said. "We were so happy when this grocery store opened. We had been needing a grocery store downtown forever. I didn't do my main grocery shopping here. But I came down here at least once or twice a week to pick something up."

Customer Don Martin said he does not live downtown, but he shopped at the market when he was in the area.

"It's a wonderful local resource," Martin said. "It seemed like it had pretty good support, at least when it first opened. Not living downtown, it's hard to know how the ebb and flow of a business goes. I hate it for all the urban dwellers."

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears

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