A big chain store moving in to Vienna, Va., could be giving a mom and pop shop the boot, but not without a fight from the community.
Tucked away inside the Vienna Shopping Center is an oasis for beer and wine lovers. At Norm’s, customers can find alcohol from all over the word like popular beer from Poland, Japan and even Lebanon.
“I remember the first time I walked into Norm’s,” said customer Peter Hartogs. “I went right to the back and saw beer that I haven’t seen since I was in Australia and I got really excited and started looking around the rest of the store. There are some things here you can’t find even in some of the other niche stores.”
But because Fresh Market, a chain grocery store is moving in next door, Norm’s owner Norman Yow said he’s being pushed out.
“We found out a few months ago that they had a non-compete clause in their lease agreement, which would require us to be out by the middle of 2015,” Yow said.
Many of Norm’s loyal customers have taken up the fight, starting a Facebook page, passing around a petition, and have even going as far as calling the management company and Fresh Market to see what can be done. So far, they’ve just been butting heads.
“The big stores have a right to come in,” customer Susan Mackenzie said. “I don’t mind shopping in their stores but don’t push out the small local business men. They’re the backbone of our economy here and we need them.”
A spokesperson for Fresh Market said the store has no comment. As for the management company who runs the shopping center, Finmarc did not return our calls.
Yow doesn’t want a fight. Instead, he hopes the non-compete will be lifted because he’s gotten along well with other grocery stores like the Giant across the street.
“We’ve coexisted with the other stores in the area for 13 years and we always refer people to other stores if we don’t have anything, the other stores have reciprocated, so we’ve always gotten along well with the other vendors in town,” Yow said.
Some customers plan to protest Fresh Market the day it opens in June.
Yow has not thought about where he will relocate, but he would like to stay in Vienna.