CROWNPOINT - Crown Point Discount Grocery, a community fixture for eight years closed Feb. 1 - for now.
John Sullivan, who owns the store with his wife Marion, hopes to reopen in the future.
"This doesn't mean we're going to disappear forever," Sullivan said. "We have a store here in Crown Point that is all set up and ready to go. Maybe we'll be back in the spring."
Sullivan blamed the store closing on the poor national economy and the closure of the Champlain Bridge that eliminated most of his Vermont customers.
"The bridge pulled $50,000 right out of my back pocket," he said. "It has been devastating to our business.
"The overall economy with the bridge was just too much," Sullivan said. "We could have made it with the economy, but not with the bridge down."
The Sullivans know the impact of the bridge closing first-hand. They live in Vergennes, Vt., and commute to Crown Point.
The Champlain Bridge in Crown Point linked New York and Vermont. It was closed in October 2009 when engineers deemed it unsafe. The bridge, which served about 4,000 vehicles a day, has been replaced by a ferry while a new structure is being built. The new span is scheduled to open this October.
The store receives financial assistance from a state fund set up specifically for businesses hurt by the bridge closure.
"You can get up to $10,000 a quarter," Sullivan said of the state aid. "It doesn't cover our loses and it doesn't come fast enough."
The store originally had six full- and part-time workers, but was down to just two part-time employees, plus the Sullivans, for the last six months.
The store, located at 2616 Main St., offered groceries, produce, a deli with lunch meats, subs and sandwiches and fresh doughnuts.
Supervisor Bethany Kosmider the store closing is a blow to the community.
"It is with sadness that I learned of the closing of Crown Point Discount Grocery," she said. "The Sullivans came into our commu-nity over eight years ago and opened the discount grocery store. They employed many people and had the best homemade doughnuts around. They adopted Crown Pointers as their family."
The closing leaves the community with two convenience stores, Hap's Market and Crown Point Mart and Cafe.