The future isn't clear for the Thomson Winn-Dixie, but the possibility that the store could close causes concern among loyal shoppers. On June 21, Winn-Dixie officials announced a group of stores, including the one in Thomson, would be put up for sale or closed.
"Oh lordy, I'll be sick. I hate to hear if they close. I come to Thomson and get what I need, then right back to Dearing I go, so I hate to hear it," Lillie Mae Jackson said.
Another customer, Marguerite Balmer, said she also shops at the store because it's convenient to her home in Dearing.
"I've shopped here since before they were even in this building," Mrs. Balmer said. "I'm very unhappy. They've put a lot of effort into modernizing the store. It's the nicest looking store inside. But mostly I like the employees, they always treat me nice."
Bad news for some people could be good news for others. David Taylor, manager of Thomson IGA, said he "hates to see the store close, because it will throw a lot of good people out of work." But Mr. Taylor also admits it could be good for his business.
"When Food Lion closed, we got quite a bit more business," Mr. Taylor said. "This is a good location for us. Life has been good for us in Thomson, we like it here."
Mr. Taylor has been managing the Thomson IGA for seven years. Before that, he managed the Grovetown IGA for seven years. Mr. Taylor said the Thomson store has more business than the Grovetown location.
Neighboring businesses located in the same shopping center as Winn-Dixie do not expect any impact from the store's reorganization. Mimi Nguyn, manager of Lovely Nails, and Richard Morgan, of Regional Open MRI, both said their business volume is based on appointments rather than walk-in customers.
"Winn-Dixie doesn't affect our business," Mr. Morgan said. "Of course, we do want to keep this area very busy. I'd love to see some type of medical mall or busy shopping place in this area of town. We've seen many tenants come and go. We've been here the longest except Winn-Dixie."
A spokesperson for Hull Storey, who owns the shopping center where the store is located on Augusta Road, said they have received no official notification of the store selling or closing. Winn-Dixie spokeswoman Terry Derreberry said more news about the fate of the Thomson store could be available by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the customers wait to see where they will shop.
Mrs. Jackson's granddaughter, Shulanda Grissom, said she has gone to Winn-Dixie with her grandmother, ever since she was a little girl.
"I hate to see them go, I mean, they're the beef people. They have the best meat around," she said.