“Yes, it is very sad. We’ve been in this business a long time,” said Joe Loson on the decision to close the family’s Big M grocery on Route 31 in Lyons.
For 51 years, the Loson family, starting with patriarch Al Loson, and continuing with his sons Joe and Jim, has been a staple of the Lyons community. The store began on Route 31, just west of Route 14 in the Village of Lyons. Following a fire in 1991 that shut the store down for 6 months, the Losons purchased property across the road on the south side, and built a small plaza. They added a gas station to the property for the convenience of the customers, and a drug store also took space.
“This town has been good to us, and supportive, as, I hope we have been to them,” said Joe.
Al Loson began in the grocery business with P & C Foods, and when he was 28, purchased a Big M franchise, as owner/operator. Two of his 8 children, Joe and Jim, came into the business, and when Joe retired several years ago, the brothers took over.
Joe’s wife, Korie came into the business as a cashier in 1999, when Joe asked if she would consider “filling in” for an employee who wanted some time off to visit family. She agreed, and moved over to the counter when an opening came up 5-1/2 years ago. Korie has been there ever since. “She is exception with people, she’s really outgoing,” Joe beamed.
While Loson’s Big M expects to close this Saturday (July 27th), it will depend on the inventory remaining in the store. Joe indicated that they might remain open just little longer to deplete the shelves.
A buyer has been interested in the property, but nothing is on paper yet, Joe admitted. The entire plaza is available, since Rite Aid moved out 3-1/2 years ago.
The store’s closing will also mean that their 15 full time and 30 part time employees will be out of jobs. “Although we also own the Big M in Clifton Springs, there are not enough openings to move these employees there,” Joe noted. “Some have been here a very long time, all of them are exceptional people,” he declare.
Joe finds the loss of jobs another sad outcome of the closing of the family grocery. It appears to have been overrun by large chains, such as WalMart and Wegman’s in Newark and the many convenience stores surrounding them.
What will the brothers do with their time now. “We will spend a lot of time at the Clifton Springs store, making it the best that it can be. We don’t have the same competition in that area, but we always want to be the best regardless.”
The Losons want to thank the Lyons community for their business for the last half century. “It’s been a wonderful community for a long time. It has supported our family, and we have supported this town. “I think we will be missed, but I also know that we will miss the people just as much,” Joe said.