DIAMOND, W.Va. --Every Friday at 11 a.m., Betty Yeager makes her weekly grocery-shopping trip to the Kroger supermarket in Diamond.
She'll have to change her routine. Kroger officials said Friday that the store in eastern Kanawha County will close April 11. The move will affect 20 full-time employees and 36 part-timers.
"It just breaks my heart," Yeager said of the store closing. "I just love Kroger, and everyone that works there."
The Belle resident said she hasn't missed a Friday since the store opened. Throughout the years, she has developed friendships with the workers.
"They're all so nice," Yeager said. She isn't sure where she'll shop after April 11.
The 31,000-square-foot store on East DuPont Avenue has been open since 1984. It's hasn't been profitable in the past three years, Kroger spokesman Carl York said.
"There comes a time when you have to make a decision," York said Friday as employees were being told of the closing.
"We're hoping to keep those associates with us," York said. "They are great people. That's not why we are closing it."
In 2011, Walmart opened a supercenter just east of the Kroger store on U.S. 60. Asked if that contributed to the Diamond store's decline, York said, "All competition has an effect on our business, and we affect our competitors."
Kroger also is closing its store in Weston.
York said employees would have the option to be transferred to other Kroger locations based on seniority according to contracts negotiated through the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Union officials couldn't be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Kroger's lease on the building, with Quincy Center LLC, expires at the end of June.
Travis Dent has worked part-time at the Diamond location as a bagger for about four years.