Chris’ Food Center in Pine City will be closing its doors this Friday, Jan. 31.
Employees of the store were given the news on Monday, Jan. 27, and soon after the store posted a note in its window from Chris’ Food Center President Craig Thorvig informing customers that it would close on Friday at 6 p.m. for the last time.
Chris’ Food Center has been running the grocery store at 1035 Main Street in Pine City since July 2011, when they took over operation of the store from Nelson’s Market, which had run the Pine City store since 1980.
At that time in 2011, Nelson’s Market shut down its grocery stores in Mora and North Branch. The only location that remained open in 2011 was Pine City, due to the purchase of the business by Chris’ Food Center.
Chris’ Food Center got started when Thorvig’s father purchased the grocery store in Sandstone in 1974. The move into Pine City was the first time the company established a second permanent location outside of its home base.
However, after over eight years of operation, Thorvig, said it is no longer economically feasible to keep the Pine City branch open, though the Sandstone store will continue.
“In reality, we probably should have, by all rights, shut [the Pine City branch] down a couple of years ago,” Thorvig said.
Thorvig said they have tried to interest other businesses in taking over the Pine City location, but were unable to find any takers.
Thorvig said the store will continue to do deliveries to seniors and will explore other options in this area.
Thorvig offered the following message to the Pine City community in a letter:
We are sad to announce that on Friday at 6 p.m, Jan. 31, 2020, Chris’ Food Center will close the doors of its Pine City store. We would like to thank the loyal customers for their support. We would also like to recognize our dedicated employees that have been with us during the time we have been in Pine City. Although the store is closing, it is not because of our employees. In particular, our high-school and college-age employees have been impressive. They have been given responsibilities beyond their age, and they have consistently responded and thrived in those situations. One thing the Pine City area can be proud of is its high-quality youth work force.
Running an independent grocery store is difficult in today’s economy and unfortunately the current level of business does not allow us to remain open in its current location. However, we are exploring a delivery option for our loyal customers. Those who are interested in this option can contact us at the Sandstone location, at 320-245-2229.
Thank you to all of you who supported our business during the time we were in Pine City. We are disappointed that this store did not work out, but we were grateful for the opportunity to serve the Pine City area for the past 8+ years. The Sandstone store will remain open for business. Thank you.
Craig Thorvig, president
Chris’ Food Center