Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver made the announcement during a town council meeting Tuesday night. Oliver said she spoke with company representatives on Tuesday who confirmed the store, which sells general retail and tobacco products, would eliminate the general items and concentrate on tobacco products only.
The change follows the purchase of the business by a UK-based tobacco company.
Oliver said JR officials have already informed the staff about the reduction in force. Rumors the store would be closing are not true.
The 50 employees will be laid off in three phases between November 1st and December 15th.
The company currently leased space on JR Road next to I-95. They will downsize to approximately 18,000 square feet. The building owner will then re-lease the space JR formerly occupied.
The mayor said she expected a lot of interest in the vacant retail space once it becomes available.
Johnston County Economic Development Director Chris Johnson said, “It is always a concern when we hear of potential layoffs or closings. With regards to JR Cigars, it is my understanding that this has more to do with a change of leadership and the direction they would like to see the company go… getting back to the roots of their core business model when they first began.”
“Mayor Oliver has been in contact with the local team to see if there is anything we can do to assist during the transition. With the hard work done by the Town of Selma to clean up some of the blighted areas at Exit 97 and the proposed Eastfield Development across from JR’s, we remain confident that the area has a promising future.”
“As a small business owner myself, working to assist small commercial businesses is something my office has made an effort during my tenure as Economic Development Director to promote and support,” Johnson said.