Despite the efforts of St. Petersburg officials, the closing date of the Sweetbay Supermarket in Midtown will not be postponed.

The liquidation sale is underway and shoppers are lining up to get half off their groceries. The store will close on Feb. 13.

"Two hundred and seventy two dollars worth of groceries for $136. Can't beat that," said shopper Frank Poole.

Though the deals are good, for some shoppers, the situation is not. 

"This is the only thing in the community. It's a big ‘ole store to let go bad, you know?" said Daryl Woodard.

Midtown tried for years to get a grocery store and finally attracted Sweetbay in 2005. The city kicked in millions of dollars in incentive money to make it happen. 

Mayor Bill Foster went to Gainesville Tuesday night to meet with Sweetbay officials, trying to convince them to keep that store open.

“(There was) good communication, but the decision is final, it’s irreversible.” Foster said, “and they did tell me of the over 200 stores that this chain has closed in the past couple years not a single one was ever reopened or the decision reversed. So, it’s not unique to us. It’s kind of the universal policy.”

Foster said Sweetbay executives told him the Midtown location was unprofitable from day one.

"They expressed from the day they opened their doors, it just bled," said Foster.

Foster: Sweetbay 'motivated' to find new vendor

Sweetbay is still on the hook for the rent there with a lease agreement for 13 more years. Foster said Sweetbay executives told him that's motivation for them to help find a replacement grocer to fill the void.

“They did have some leads on some vendors that could go in there. They think that if it goes dark, it will be temporary." he said. “They’ll be paying rent- significant rent- on a store making no income. So, they’re motivated.”

A Sweetbay spokesperson confirmed that they are reaching out to their contacts in the grocery industry to find a store that might be a better fit for Midtown.

Foster said he had hoped at the very least the store could’ve remained open, at least temporality but called it a "misconception" the city could've done anything about it.

“We own the under laying land but it’s subject to a long-term lease with the landlord who has a long-term lease with Sweetbay,” he said. “So we’re a distant party, a distant relative to this but our role is to help promote the benefits of Midtown, and St. Petersburg."

Still, shoppers are upset about losing their neighborhood grocery and have a hard time believing the store didn't make money.

Shopper Donny Corbett said the community did support the store in Midtown.

"Maybe they made their money and they were ready to move onto something else and it looks good on paper to say we're losing money when in reality they just set expectations that couldn't be reached," said Corbett.

The Midtown store is among about 20 stores in the immediate Bay area that are closing.