Local Business and Economic Development

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Photo: RBRA

Officials at Roanoke’s airport say the COVID pandemic gave them an unexpected opportunity to bring about something they have sought for years — airfares more in line with nearby airports. When the pandemic dramatically dropped passenger counts, Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport lowered rental fees for the airlines serving ROA. But Spokesperson Brad Boettcher says they insisted on something from the airlines in return: lower airfares. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

08-06 ROA Airfares Wrap-WEB

Kroger Mid-Atlantic will relocate its division office from Roanoke to Richmond by the end of 2020. Kroger says the move will establish division operations in a location that is “better equipped and positioned to serve and support all markets.” Kroger also says about 100 associates will have options through the transition to Richmond. Its Roanoke district leadership team will remain here.

ROANOKE, Va. (August 4, 2020) – Today, Kroger Mid-Atlantic announced plans to relocate its division office from Roanoke to Richmond by the end of 2020. The move will establish division operations in a location that is better equipped and positioned to serve and support all markets throughout Kroger Mid-Atlantic. Additionally, recent growth for the division has been centered on the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions as those areas have seen significant increases in population over the years, creating greater demand for grocery stores.

Kroger Mid-Atlantic has created a number of opportunities to ensure that its approximately 100 associates have options through this transition. The company’s warehouse operations, logistics and its Roanoke district leadership team will remain in the region. “As we prepare for this next chapter in our division, we want our associates and communities to know that we’re committed to a safe, seamless and positive transition,” said Paula Ginnett, president of Kroger Mid-Atlantic. “This is not a goodbye to Roanoke because we will remain committed to the region and we will continue to support our associates, customers and community partners throughout the area.”

Kroger opened its first store in the Roanoke Valley 91 years ago and currently operates 11 stores in the region. The relocation will have no impact on stores, pharmacies or fuel centers in the Roanoke area. The Kroger Mid-Atlantic division office is located at 3631 Peters Creek Road in Roanoke. The Richmond division office will be located in Glen Allen at 140 East Shore Drive. Kroger Mid-Atlantic plans to have its Richmond office in full operation by the start of 2021.

RBRA photo

Air traffic at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport remains well below the numbers of one year ago, but airport officials say there is some long-term reason for optimism amid the downturn. About 13,500 passengers flew into or out of ROA in June, and that is close to an 80% drop from June of last year. Airport Spokesperson Brad Boettcher says airlines serving Roanoke have cut back passenger capacity here by more than 50%, but the only non-stop route that has been dropped is to New York City. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

07-24 ROA Traffic Wrap-WEB

In a Facebook post The Village Grill in Grandin Village reports today that they have shut down temporarily after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The employee last worked on Sunday – and all workers are wearing masks. Ownership says they will wait for medical clearance before reopening.

(from Facebook post) So these are the kinds of announcements we get to make these days … we’ve had a member of the Village Grill staff test positive for COVID-19. The employee is asymptomatic and the positive test came from a test kit obtained from CVS. Others who have come in contact took a similar test that came back negative. Out of an abundance of caution we will be closing the Grill and having those in contact get tested by a medical professional for a secondary result. When we receive medical clearance to safely re-open, we will do so.

We apologize for the inconvenience and apologize for abruptly closing for part of the day yesterday. We simply needed to figure out how to best proceed and what information to convey both professionally for the business and personally for the employees. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of the community and will keep you posted as to our next step. Stay safe all!
Additional information: To answer some questions … this employee last worked on Sunday (7/5). No other employee has tested positive that we are aware of at this time. All employees were wearing masks. Given the unknown accuracy of many COVID tests, we are having individuals take a second test thru a medical professional.
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