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.