'Top-notch' independent grocer to replace Save-A-Lot in Whitehall

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
A Walters IGA will replace this Save-A-Lot grocery store at 573 S. Yearling Road in Whitehall.

A new independent grocery store with a wide selection of products is poised to replace the Save-A-Lot store in 16,000 square feet at 573 S. Yearling Road in the Yearling Center.

Walters IGA will open in mid-July after a remodeling project, said Ed Humeidan, whose company, MJM Realty, owns the Yearling Center.

Save-A-Lot closed June 5, he said.

Humeidan said he and a silent partner are going to own the new Walters IGA under the Whitehall Market LLC, for which Humeidan is president.

He said he and his business partner, who have backgrounds in convenience-store operations, saw the departing Save-A-Lot as an opportunity to put a “top-notch” grocer in the space.

Although it will have a smaller footprint than most grocery stores, Walters IGA will be reformatted to offer more than 10,000 individual products representing three product lines, plus fresh butchered meat, produce and dry goods.

“it’s going to have everything (Save-A-Lot) had in there and physically more,” Humeidan said.

He said there are plans to expand the space by 5,000 square feet after the initial launch. An application for a permit to sell beer and wine also has been completed, he said.

The Walters family, who owned and operated a store in Whitehall from 1975-91, is not associated with the project but gave its blessing to Humeidan to use the family name in the new enterprise, Humeidan said. Neither Larry or Mona Walters, nor anyone from their immediate family, could be reached for comment for this story.

Humeidan said he became affiliated with the Independent Grocers Alliance, or IGA, “because it is a recognizable, trusted brand that offers the right product pricing to meet the diverse needs of the Whitehall community.”

Humeidan said he understand the competitive nature of the supermarket industry and the narrow profit margins but is unconcerned at the moment.

“We’re OK with that,” he said. “It’s not what we do to pay our bills, and the community gets its store and everybody’s happy.”

Zach Woodruff, director of development and public service for Whitehall, said Humeidan made him aware of Save-A-Lot's departure, so they started a conversation about the site's history and their mutual desire to see an independent grocery return to that address.

"When we kind of brought that to Ed and his group, it became a natural for him and his team to use that brand and what the Whitehall community would be familiar with," Woodruff said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary