Wade’s grocery downsizes, stays open, thanks public

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Marty Gordon

Changes are coming to one of the area’s oldest businesses.

Stock photo
Christiansburg landmark, Wade’s Grocery, on Roanoke Street will streamline its offerings to deli/bakery, meat and produce.

Greg Wade, the owner of Wade’s grocery store in Christiansburg is cutting the floor footprint of its Roanoke Street location, but will stay open.

In a Facebook post, Wade wrote, “I am pleased to tell you that my hopes are to keep our original store open by reducing our floor plan to the deli side of the store.”

The locally owned grocery has struggled with the business side of things for over 15 years. Greg has been fighting ongoing health problems and, this spring, his father, Lowell Wade, one of the original founders, of the name-sake grocery chain, died.

Greg admitted his store has also fought competition from bigger stores like Walmart.

In his Facebook post, Wade thanked the public for its continued support.

“Your support is greatly appreciated and will help to achieve our goal of getting back to a profitable store with the Wade’s meats, bakery, produce and deli you know and love. We will be stocking a limited variety (top 2500) selling grocery frozen and dairy items in the very near future,” he said.

The plan is to downsize the store by a third of its current size, pushing the store to the right side of the building, while leasing out the left side of the building.

When contacted by phone on Monday, Greg said he has no real timetable for the changes, but hopes to have the smaller area done before Labor Day.

“I think there is an opportunity for Wade’s deli and meats in the NRV, and that is what I want to center on along with having fresh donuts and bread in our bakery,” he said.

Greg Wade cites customers who drive long distances to buy those items.

“I have to grow our sales that way and get back some of the customers that I lost while cutting expenses,” he said.

No layoffs from the current numbers are expected. Instead, Wade said he might have to add more people to help with both the deli and bakery.

The grocer dominated the market for several years after opening in 1950 and was run by Greg’s grandparents, Haden and Elinor Wade. Lowell Wade worked in the first store located just across the street from the current Christiansburg store where the FedEx distribution center is today.

At one time, the business had locations in Pulaski, Blacksburg, Radford and Dublin. All of those have closed over the past 20 years.