February 5, 2007

Cub Foods Announces Closure of Iowa City Store in Mid-March

By The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Feb. 2--IOWA CITY -- Cub Foods plans to close its 12-year-old Iowa City store on March 17.

The store's approximately 75 employees will lose their jobs.

"Cub worked diligently to create an environment at the store that would meet consumer needs, as well as the company's business objectives," said Chris Murphy, a spokesman for Cub Foods.

"Unfortunately, the Cub Foods operation in Iowa City did not fit into the company's business plans for the future."

The 62,000-square-foot store at 855 Highway 1 West employed about 240 when it opened in October 1994. It was the first Johnson County supermarket to offer a bank branch.

Iowa City Manager Steve Atkins received a Jan. 30 letter from Cub Foods informing him of the company's decision.

The company cited "business restructuring" as the reason for the store closing.

Cub Foods will sell down inventory during the coming weeks and will offer store employees transitional and outplacement services.

The closing reduces the supermarket chains in the Iowa City-Coralville area to Aldi, Hy-Vee and Fareway. Wal-Mart in Iowa City and the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Coralville sell groceries along with general merchandise.

Cub Foods was an innovator with biometric payment technology, enabling shoppers to use their fingerprint to identify them for a bank withdrawal.

Cub Foods is adjoined by Staples and, across the parking lot, Wal-Mart, which has been looking for an opportunity to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Iowa City.

Karen Franklin, director of the Iowa City Planning and Community Development Department, said it would be purely speculation to talk about Wal-Mart combining its space with that of Cub Foods to build a larger store.

"Staples is in between," she said. Franklin also wasn't sure the properties would meet parking requirements for a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

Ryan Horn, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, said the property is complicated and using Cub Foods' space has not been considered. He said he had not known about the closing of Cub Foods.


To see more of The Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.gazetteonline.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.