Residents disappointed over deli’s closure

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Teresa Chavez, manager of Wholey Cow Deli on Seventh and Pile streets, makes a sandwich for a customer during the lunchtime rush. Chavez have been manager of the deli for four years.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

It’s noon on Monday and the line at Wholey Cow Deli is growing with hungry, curious and upset customers.

Aside from the usual sandwich order, customers also want to know why the store is closing its doors after five years. The deli on East Seventh Street will close Jan. 16, according to manager Teresa Chavez who has been with the store for four years.

“I still can’t believe we’re closing,” she said.

Owner Margaret George, who also owns a meat processing business in Portales, said she wants to concentrate on meat processing and spend more time with her family.

SPR Custom Processing produces ground and roast beef.

“It’s gotten to be just a lot of work for me,” she said. “I feel terrible about it, because it’s really not a necessity except that it is for me.”

She said she plans to sell or rent the building. But she hopes a new owner takes over the deli.

“That deli has a real nice cash flow,” she said.

George employs three people at the deli and five at the plant. She said two deli employees will work at the plant.

Kerrie Geisler, a Wholey Cow employee for three years, said customers have asked what they could do to keep the deli open.

“We worked really hard to develop a relationship with our customers. It’s really sad it has to end,” she said.

Tonya Heaton, who has eaten at the deli at least once a week for five years, is sad the deli is closing.

She said she also places orders for meetings and luncheons for Eastern New Mexico Physicians and Surgeons where she works.

“I like everything about Wholey Cow. The staff is nice, the service is good and the food is great,” she said.