Surry Marketplace  construction complete, opening planned in May or June

Published 2:09 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

In another month or two, Surry County residents could be shopping locally for groceries.

According to an April 4 county news release, construction of the long-awaited Surry Marketplace is now complete and has passed all trade inspections. A grand opening is projected for May or June, pending the store passing its health department inspections and receiving a certificate to begin operations, the release states.

The opening date has been a moving target since Surry residents Andrew and Sheryl White purchased the former Surry Furniture & Hardware Co. building five years ago.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In 2020, Surry’s Economic Development Authority allocated $300,000 toward the purchase of refrigeration equipment, which didn’t arrive at the store until late 2022, to match a $300,000 grant the Obici Healthcare Foundation had also given the project in 2020. The marketplace received an additional $50,000 state grant in 2021 aimed at combating “food deserts” like Surry, where the nearest supermarkets in Smithfield, Suffolk and Petersburg are at least a 30-minute drive.

“This community partnership and investment are delivering on this longstanding need in the community and helping to build the path for economic growth in the county,” said Surry Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Elliott. “The store will feed families, create jobs, and will help continue our economic development growth in Surry County.”

It’s been more than 20 years since Surry’s only major grocery store shuttered in 1999.

“The concept of bringing a market to the Surry community that has been without a store in over 20 years was conceptualized in 2018 with the vision of a new market and other spaces to fill community gaps,” said County Administrator Melissa Rollins. “While those efforts did not materialize, this unique endeavor to convert a long-standing vacant building to a viable community market is remarkable.”

“The Surry Marketplace project is a testament to what can happen when community leaders and stakeholders work together to fulfill a community need,” Deputy County Administrator David Harrison said. “Many thanks to Mr. Andrew White, our Foundation sponsors, the Surry County Board of Supervisors, and the Surry County Economic Development Authority for supporting this vision and making it a reality for the Surry County community.”

“The Obici Healthcare Foundation is honored to be a partner in the Surry Marketplace project,” said R. Battle Betts Jr., the foundation’s president and CEO. “This unique collaboration among multiple foundations and other partners will bring local access to healthy foods to the Surry community. This innovative approach brought to live by Surry County administrators will also serve to improve multiple social determinants of health in addition to food access, including the creation of jobs and increased economic growth that will serve to build the capacity of the county to strengthen the overall health and wellness of the communities we seek to protect and serve.”

Surry County Economic Development consultant Renee Chapline stated the project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $2 million while creating 16 to 20 permanent, full-time jobs.

The Anne and Gene Worrell Foundation also provided support for the project in honor of Anne Worrell, who was born and raised in Surry County.

“Projects such as the Surry Marketplace illustrate what is possible when we work together across sectors for the benefit of the community,” said Holly Hatcher, president and CEO of the Worrell Foundation. “We are excited to see the grocery store project finally come to life so that we can ensure residents of the county have access to fresh and healthy foods.”

“I am particularly thankful to the foundation’s partners and our other funding partners for investing much-needed resources in an area that has historically experienced disinvestment,” said Surry County EDA Chairman Myron Wooden. “We are confident this will lead to further development along the corridor.”

The store is located at the corner of Routes 10 and 31 in the town of Surry. Dominion Energy, the county’s largest employer, also contributed to bringing the project budget over the finish line to complete construction, the county release states. Dominion operates the Surry nuclear power plant, the taxes from which account for much of the county’s annual budget.

“Supporting local communities is a part of Dominion Energy’s commitment to making a positive impact on the regions we serve,” said Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia. “Access to fresh food is vital to the well-being of Surry residents, and we are proud to join community-minded organizations working to address the health and nutritional needs in the county.”