COLUMBUS GROVE — Sadly, all good things must come to an end.
The ending for a long-time presence in Columbus Grove will come today.
CG Grocery co-owner Mark Kohls announced earlier this month that the store would close its doors at the end of the business day. CG is the only grocery store in town.
Kohls said the decision did not come easily for the family-owned business, which has been in the family for more than 80 years. The family also owns Kohls Market in Ottawa.
“I hate to see it,” Kohls said. “We kept it open the last five years strictly based on emotion, but financially we just no longer could do it.”
Kohls said the family tried several things throughout the years to increase revenue in the store, at least enough to keep its doors open. One of those changes was changing the name from Kohls Market to CG Grocery.
“We had several family meetings over the last five years,” Kohls said. “Actually a lot of it worked, but it didn’t work enough to keep the doors open. It just slowed the bleeding.”
Kohls said many of the elderly in the community would be inconvenienced by the decision, but he doubted the younger generation would be affected.
“It has become a bit of a bedroom community,” Kohls said. “A lot of people here go to work in Lima, Findlay or Ottawa. They usually do their grocery shopping there. The younger people buy their groceries when they are on their way home from work.”
Kohls said the grocery had been operating without a profit for about 10 to 12 years.
Kohls said it is just a sign of the times for small town grocery stores.
“The stores in Leipsic and Ottoville closed last year,” Kohls said. “The one in Continental closed a couple years ago. Sadly, the grocery business is a volume business now. Unfortunately the small town groceries cannot keep up.”
The closing will also mean the end of jobs for three full-time and six part-time workers at the store. Store manager Steve Kleman, 43, has spent all of his adult life working at the store for the last 25 years. He said he was unsure of what the future held.
“I am not sure what I will do yet,” Kleman said. “I have a few options I am looking at. I have been thinking about opening a meat market in town somewhere, but I don’t have any definite plans right now.”
Emily Tabler, 18, said they were surprised when they got the news a month ago about the closing.
“We saw the ‘for sale’ sign up on the door, and it was a bit of a shock,” Tabler said. “We kind of figured it wouldn’t happen.”
Tabler, a senior at Columbus Grove High School, said she will be attending Bluffton University after graduation and that she had secured an on-campus job.
Kohls said the business has not planned any special events for the last day as the store locks its doors one last time.
“We will bring in pizza for the employees tomorrow and that will be it,” Kohls said. “I expressed sorrow to the workers, especially the full-timers. They knew what was going on, and knew it was coming.”