Andy’s Market, a Columbia Borough grocery for 64 years, is closing its 353 Cherry St. store on Oct. 31 but expanding the selection at its 310 N. 11th St. (Ironville Pike) location a half-mile away, near Columbia High School.
The Cherry Street store will close in conjunction with the retirement of Andy Ohrel Jr., 73, who has worked his whole life at the family business, started by his father, Andy Sr., in 1956.
Matt Ohrel, 45, the third generation to run the business, said it’s too difficult to find enough employees to keep both locations open.
In choosing which location to sustain, strong sales at the two-year-old Ironville Pike store tipped the decision in its favor, although it’s less than half the size of the 4,000-square-foot Cherry Street location, he said.
The Ironville Pike store is a butcher shop/deli that also offers convenience groceries. It does a robust lunchtime business selling subs, sandwiches and salads, he explained. Matt Ohrel said he plans to expand its selection of frozen foods to help keep sales on the rise.
An elementary school teacher for nine years before returning to the family business, Ohrel said two Cherry Street store employees with 30-plus years of experience will be joining the staff at the Ironville Pike store, boosting its staff to seven.