Cumberland Times-News

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July 2, 2013

Downtown grocery closes

CUMBERLAND — The Mor For Less grocery store on Queen City Drive is closed, apparently permanently. A sign on the locked doors offered an explanation of the closure.

“To our valued customers, unfortunately we were unable to renew our lease at this location and have closed our doors,” said the sign, which was signed “Management.”

What appeared to be butcher paper covered the glass doors and windows, obscuring any chance to see what was going on inside. Kim Harper and Joe Femi had planned to shop for some chicken to barbecue Tuesday afternoon and were surprised to find the store closed.

“It’s sad,” said Femi. Harper said they often came from Frostburg to shop at the store. The store was heavily used by older citizens and downtown residents without cars and had a steady stream of taxi traffic dropping off or picking up shoppers.

A staff member did answer the phone at the Queen City location but did not want to give her name for comment. Employees just found out about the closure Tuesday morning, she said. “All I know is the store is closed,” she said. Attempts to reach a manager were unsuccessful.

According to the sign, some employees may find work at the grocery’s other Cumberland location.

“We appreciate your business over the years and hope to see you at our White Oaks location where you will see many familiar employees from this location,” the sign read.

Mayor Brian Grim was concerned about the closure. “It is alarming not only because of the closure of a store downtown .. .but the inability to work out a lease,” Grim said. Grim said the city would not typically be involved in lease negotiations between private entities.

The plaza in which Mor For Less was located is owned by Cumberland Plaza Associates, located in Pittsburgh. A contact for the company could not be reached before deadline.

Calls to Mor For Less corporate offices requesting comment were not returned.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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