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Imperial's Family Market closing

December 07, 2001|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — "It's been wonderful and we've had great customers, but there are just not enough of them."

With those words Bill Cartwright, owner of Family Market in Imperial, confirmed his grocery store would close for good Saturday.

Cartwright, a former Imperial citizen of the year, has owned the store for four years. He opened Family Market after the store — under its former operation as Valley Market — closed.

Valley Market was part of the Cook's Valley Market chain, which closed all its stores in the Imperial Valley in 1994. Cartwright worked as the area general manager for the Cook's chain for 27 years.

Cartwright said he retired when Cook's ended its operations. He was 55 then.

In 1997, at age 58, he decided to open Family Market.

Cartwright, a substantial state lottery win some two years ago notwithstanding, put in long hours in an effort to make the store succeed.

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Cartwright said this week he could not compete with the "big boys."

To clear the store of merchandise before Saturday, Family Market is selling shelf stock at 50 percent off and Cartwright says he'll donate any remaining stock at week's end to a local charity.

The building and the land it occupies will be put up for sale.

When asked what his "retirement" plans are, Cartwright said, "There are no real plans. I'll take a couple of days off and then we'll see what happens."

There are about 12 people employed at Family Market. Cartwright said he thinks they all have found other work.

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or dingo87@earthlink.net

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon contributed to this article.

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