BLUEFIELD, Va. — A department store with outlets across Appalachian is going out of business. Employees of Magic Mart learned of the closure Monday morning after meeting at store locations and the company’s corporate headquarters in Bluefield, Va.
WVVA Television in Bluefield reports the closure will come in September or October.
The company issued the following statement in a letter to employees:
“The reason for the closure is continued inadequate sales leading to substantial financial loses. We have attempted to address this issue in a variety of ways, but unfortunately, we have not been successful in these efforts. We thank you for your valued service to Ammar’s and we are sorry that this decision had to be made.”
Magic Mart began when the three Ammar Brothers immigrated from Syria in 1911. The brothers literally walked a route, selling goods from Alabama to Michigan for nine years. In 1920, one of the brothers bid on the auction for a storefront in Williamson, West Virginia and the first Ammar Brothers Department Store was founded in 1920. It would be the forerunner to what would become Magic Mart, the first of which was created in Grundy, Virginia in 1967. The stores grew in small towns across Appalachia and there are more than a dozen in operation today in West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia.