Moneta, VA - After 20 years, a Moneta business has shut its doors for good. The owners of Shop Rite announced their decision to shut down the store last month.
Now that the doors are locked and shelves bare, reality is starting to sink in. Ruby Zimmerman had hoped to spend the rest of her working days at Shop Rite.
"After spending nearly 13 years here, it's just devastating," said Zimmerman.
Now, the woman customers call "Shop Rite Ruby" is saying her good-byes.
"Emotional, that's all I can see is it's heartbreaking, it really is," said Zimmerman.
Customer after customer stopped by Shop Rite Saturday afternoon hoping to do their regular shopping. But instead they're staring at discount signs and learning that the store has seen its last day.
"It's a day you didn't think would ever happen and it's here," said former customer Karin Pershinger.
"I love my customers, (I am) missing them, not seeing them," said Zimmerman.
Customers say the workers were all warm, welcoming and willing to help.
"The employees are so friendly, you walk in and it's like'hi, how are you?'" said Pershinger.
Now, the only thing that greets these employees are empty aisles and shelves. And the shoppers say their options are now limited.
"I don't know what people are gonna do now. A whole lot of people don't go to the rest of the stores around here like Food Lion. It's too far to drive," said former customer Wayne Martin.
Employees say business was booming here for nearly 20 years. But several years ago, an intersection change re-routed traffic to big chains like Food Lion. Shop Rite owners did what they could but finally decided last month to shut down the shop.
"Big business, running the little man out, that's what they're doing," said one former customer.
For now, the future's up in the air for about 30 employees.
"I'm gonna miss Lewis, Louise and Jennifer, a lot of the employees I worked with, we were all like family and it's not gonna be there any more," said Zimmerman.
Some businesses near Shop Rite, like Subway, have relocated, but the owner of Lago Pizza says they will stay at the plaza. A new owner has purchased Shop Rite. Customers hope they'll keep it as a grocery or convenience store.