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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Citing an inability to compete against such national players as Home Depot and Lowe's, Wegmans Food Markets, based here, said this week it would close all 14 of its Chase-Pitkin Home & Garden Centers, starting early next year. All of the stores are located in New York.
According to published reports Chairman Robert B. Wegman said the closings will permit the Northeast grocer to focus on growing its grocery business, which now encompasses 69 stores in five states, including a newly opened 140,000-square-foot store in Maryland, the company’s first in that state.
Wegmans, which acquired Chase-Pitkin in 1974, will close stores in Clay and Big Flats by the end of next March, with the rest to close later.
"We have thoroughly analyzed our position in the home improvement business and come to one conclusion," noted Wegman in a statement. "The industry is dominated by a small number of very large national players with thousands of stores, and Chase-Pitkin is simply not big enough to compete successfully and grow the business."
The closures will affect 1,160 part-time and 507 full-time employees. Wegmans said those workers either would be offered jobs at the company's grocery stores or receive severance packages.
In other Wegmans news, three animal rights activists have been indicted on charges that they allegedly broke into the Wegmans Egg Farm in Wolcott, N.Y. three times last year, to document what they believed were inhumane conditions for the hens there. Adam Durand, Melanie Ippolito, and Megan Cosgrove were each indicted on several counts by a Wayne County grand jury. If found guilty, the three could spend several years behind bars. Their attorney, Eric Schneider, told the local press that he hoped the case could be settled without jail time.