New business coming to Elizabethton, existing stores exit to make way

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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By Lynn J. Richardson
Three area businesses will need to move or close to make room for a new store to be constructed at one of Elizabethton’s busiest intersections.
The Elizabethton Save A Lot Grocery, Tri-City Tobacco #8 and Papa John’s will all be vacating their current locations at 135 West Elk Avenue to make way for newcomer Weigel’s. The Tennessee-based convenience store has announced plans to build a new location at the intersection of West Elk and Broad Street.
There are no set dates for the demolition of the existing building or a groundbreaking for the new Weigel’s, says Logan Engle, Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Elizabethton, but plans are progressing and “it will be exciting to see Weigel’s come to the community.”
“We do have a site plan and that plan has been approved, but Weigel’s is coordinating with the Tennessee Department of Highway as their widening of State Route 91 project continues,” Engle said. “They (Weigel’s) plan to wait as that process is moving along. They don’t want to get in TDOT’s way.
“I do know that Weigel’s has worked closely with TDOT to the extent of coordinating their egress and ingress, based on the department’s plan, but at this time no demolition permit has been issued. We are excited, but there are a lot of factors at play with the road widening project. I know people are wondering ‘whatever happened with that?’ but we have to wait on what the developer decides to do.”
Save A Lot Grocery will be permanently closing according to Steve Stollings, Division Manager for Houchens Industries, the Bowling Green, Kentucky-based home office.
“As you know, our landlord sold the building and it will be torn down to make way for Weigel’s, so our last day of business will be December 3,” Stollings said. “I’d like to thank all of our customers and our associates who have supported us through the years. We really wanted to stay in the area and just relocate, but we have looked for places and just couldn’t make anything work.”
Stollings did say employees have been given the option of moving to other company locations which include the Price Less store in Johnson City and two other area Save A Lot stores, one in Rogersville and one in Greeneville.
Tri-City Tobacco #8 will be relocating, moving just down the street to property located on Broad Street near Region’s Bank, according to store manager, Austin Watson.
“We are planning to build a new three-unit building there near Region’s Bank, on the property where the empty car lot is, and we will be bringing a couple of other businesses in with us,” he said.
Negotiations with other businesses to fill those additional retail spots is ongoing and Watson says while there is an August 2023 deadline to vacate their current location, the owners of the company hope to have their new building “up and running” by July 2023.
Papa John’s operations manager, Sue Keys, declined to comment on the future of their Elizabethton location, but said she looks forward to letting the public know the store’s plans when decisions are finalized.

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