MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — A church in Hanover is cashing in on an offer it can’t refuse, but neighbors complain it’s at their expense.
Shalom Baptist Church recently sold its land along Mechanicsville Turnpike to the German Grocery company Lidl.
Church Pastor Mark Miller calls it a miracle.
“God doing things that are above and beyond what we could explain,” says Pastor Miller, “I give all the glory to him.”
After 45 years in its current facility, the church needed more space. It was in the midst of raising money to expand when Lidl approached church leadership in April of 2015.
By the end of the year, the congregation voted in favor of selling church property and building a bigger facility on another piece of land.
“This just gave us an opportunity to build new facilities on a larger parcel of property and expand a little more for our growing congregation,” Pastor Miller explained.
Brandi Weatherford’s back yard backs up to the planned store. She doesn’t see the need for another grocery in her neighborhood.
“It’s ridiculous,” Weatherford said. “It’s right behind a quiet neighborhood. They’ve already put a Lowes. They’ve put a Wawa. We’ve got Kroger, Food Lion. We’ve got everything around here and now they’re going to knock down a church.”
Lidl is new to Virginia, but the store joins a slew of well-known groceries in the area.
Kroger, Aldi, Food Lion, Lidl and a future Publix will all compete for customers within about a two-mile stretch of Mechanicsville Turnpike.
Tim Church agrees there are plenty of places nearby to shop for groceries. He worries about the noise and traffic his new neighbor might bring.
“With the traffic, with my kids playing around here, with my dog, I’ve got to watch them every minute that they’re out there now,” Church explained.
Critics of the store’s location admit they’re disappointed to lose the church as a good neighbor. They also acknowledge what’s taking its place is now their cross to bear.