It's been a couple of months since the on Highway 24 closed, but I am still saddened by the sight of its empty building.
When we first moved to the area, that location was a large triangular field, bordered by roads on all three sides. Once I saw a northern harrier, an uncommon hawk for South Carolina, flying low over the field looking for prey. I watched it for fifteen minutes or so as it sailed back and forth on the wind currents above the waving grasses.
Then the Food Lion shopping center was built. I missed the beauty of the field, but got used to the home-like atmosphere of the grocery. It was smaller and more intimate than the other stores in the area. The deli ladies knew the exact number on the slicer to cut my meat order. One of the checkout ladies would always ask how my school year was going, and I would in turn ask her about her children. The business was a welcoming and friendly oasis on a busy road.
And now it is boarded up and quiet, and Food Lion has announced plans to build multiple hundreds of new stores in new locations. I don't know much about business models. I just know that a nice neighborhood grocery has closed, that a number of people have lost their jobs, and that northern harriers don't search for their supper over empty brick buildings.