BEDFORD — With a plethora of grocery stores in town and the upcoming opening of Trader Joe’s, the owner of a local butcher shop says he will close his store this spring.
Rob Smith, owner of The Wine’ing Butcher, says an overabundance of big-box grocery stores, coupled with an increase in his rent for the store at 254 Wallace Road, forced him to make the tough business decision.
“It is disheartening for us. I am very disappointed,” said Smith, who has lived in Bedford for about 25 years.
Although The Wine’ing Butcher in Bedford will close by the end of April, its three other locations in Meredith, Gilford and Pembroke will remain open.
Smith said there are eight grocery stores in Bedford, including Walmart and Target, which have increased their food options recently.
“We had the best holiday season we ever had, but I can’t make a decision based on one month, especially since I don’t know what Trader Joe’s will bring,” said Smith, who acknowledged that his butcher shop took a hit when Market Basket and Whole Foods Market opened in Bedford. “I really can’t afford to sign another five-year lease with an increase hoping (Trader Joe’s) doesn’t have an impact,” he added.
Trader Joe’s is set to open in the coming months at the new Market and Main development along South River Road next to the existing Whole Foods Market.
In addition, Smith said his lease rates for the building along Wallace Road are already high.
“If we renew our lease, we are looking at a 12 percent increase from where we are now,” he said.
As a Bedford resident, Smith said it has been a difficult decision to close the Bedford location. For the past five years, the Wine’ing Butcher has supplied free hamburgers to the Bedford Bulldogs Athletic Booster Club, which it then sells at all of the home football games at Bedford High School.
All of the employees at the local butcher shop will be transferring to one of the three remaining Wine’ing Butcher locations, he said.
The local store will continue to stock its shelves and remain open until its closure at the end of April.
“As soon as Labor Day rolls around, people take their grills and put them away and stop cooking outdoors. The wintertime has always been a slow season for us, which we expect, he said.