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Grocer says you can go home again

by Matt Harvey

ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR

SHINNSTON -- A new-look supermarket that will open soon in Shinnston will be aimed at getting back customers who are leaving town to get their groceries, the owners say.

Tom Jamieson and wife, Debbie, who operate Jamieson Family Foods, plan to close their Save-A-Lot store in Shinnston and move the staff from that store into the town's Foodland, which recently closed.

Jamieson's company purchased the Foodland as an alternative to building a new store, he said.

"About a year ago, we had made a commitment to our employees to better upgrade the facility," Jamieson said. "That basically meant we were going to build a new store."

Jamieson said a recent market study showed many people were leaving Shinnston to shop either in Clarksburg, Bridgeport or Marion County.

In a bid to bring those shoppers into his store, Jamieson said he plans to double the size of the bakery, plus lower more than 3,000 prices and have a tobacco outlet in the store. The latter "helps us closely monitor whether the age is appropriate for buying cigarettes," Jamieson said.

"And, we're going to be real hard into customer service," Jamieson said.

Jamieson said similar moves have helped him build his Middletown Mall Shop 'N Save into the state's largest independently owned supermarket.

The Shinnston store also can have great success, he said.

"When it's all said and done, we're almost positive we'll have more employees in this one store than we had in both stores together, because we're going to work hard at keeping people in Shinnston shopping in Shinnston," Jamieson said.

Jamieson Family Foods has made few changes to the Bridgeport Save-A-Lot, which kept its current name and staff, Jamieson said. The store opened under his ownership last weekend.

"What they will see is a more aggressive company in Harrison County," Jamieson said of the Bridgeport store. "Just a little more aggressive possibly than they were. We do a lot of advertising."

At the Shinnston Shop 'N Save, meanwhile, Jamieson's managers conducted interviews this week. Employees from his old Save-A-Lot made the move to the new store, he said, and former Foodland store employees who were laid off also have been applying to work at Shop 'N' Save, Jamieson said.

Jamieson owns 10 grocery stores in the area. Three are in Harrison County, four are in Marion County, one is in Monongahela County and two are in Uniontown, Pa.

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