Things will be changing for two grocery stores in Covington over the next few months.
Kroger has sold its Covington store to grocers Judson and Dana Naifeh, owner of Naifeh’s Cash Saver just down Hwy. 51 and Naifeh’s in Munford, and will close its doors on Oct. 31.
Last week, the corporation filed an employee dislocation notification with the Tennessee Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development stating 80 employees would be affected by the closure.
Kroger has already pulled permits to remove the gas station, too, and that’s not the only thing that will look different once it reopens.
“We’re going to do a major remodel on the store,” Dana said Wednesday.
The plans are to lock the current Cash Saver location one day next winter, perhaps early spring, and open the next day in this new building.
A lot of work will be taking place between now and then.
“We’re going to take this store and expand everything,” Judson said of the half-mile move north. “We’re going to expand what we’re currently offering, double the frozen food, our produce section will grow, there will be a more expanded variety.”
It’s going to be a lot easier to shop there, too.
Kroger moved into the store at 951 Hwy. 51 North in 1988. The company remodeled the 44,000-square foot store in 2007, but it’s due another facelift.
“It won’t look anything like it does now,” Dana said. “You won’t even recognize the building in a few months.”
There will be new front end equipment, more checkouts and self-checkouts.
Judson plans to put a beer cave inside the store and will pave the parking lot as soon as the weather allows.
There are also plans in the works for online shopping because they’ll have the capacity for it.
There are no immediate plans to put a gas station in, but it’s not off the table.
“We’re taking on more than we’ve ever done in 110 years,” Judson said. “Its gonna be awesome.”
The Naifeh family has been in the grocery business since Joe Naifeh opened a store on the east side of the square in 1910.
A decade later, Oney Naifeh arrived in Tipton County to help run the second store at 102 East Court Square. In 1929, when Joe died, Oney took over and the business was the first in Covington to have a meat market and shopping cart. It was also the first grocery store in the city to sell bottles of milk and loaf of bread.
The current location in Covington was built in 1963 by Joe Naifeh, Oney’s son.
Judson said, unlike national competitors, shopping here benefits local people.
“When you shop with us, you’re reinvesting in the community and the people who live here.”