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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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First Market Bank inside local Ukrop’s closing March 22

The First Market Bank branch inside the Ukrop’s store in Spotsylvania County will close March 22, though it’s unclear whether that is also the date on which the entire grocery store will close.

Ukrop’s announced last week that the parent company of Giant was buying the Richmond-based grocer for $140 million. But the purchase did not include the Spotsylvania Ukrop’s, which will close. Ukrop’s has said only that the store will close in the first quarter of 2010. 

First Market is sending out a letter to its customers today about the March 22 closure and directing them to the next-closest branch at Twin Lakes on U.S. 1 in Fredericksburg. That’s four miles away. Customer accounts will be automatically transferred there. 

Also, the letter notes, First Market Bank is merging with Union Bank & Trust in a deal expected to close early next year. At that point First Market customers who have been using the Ukrop’s branch can use the nearby Union Bank branch at 4210 Plank Road.

First Market CEO David Fairchild said employees from the Ukrop’s branch will be transferred to other branches.

I’m working on an article for Thursday about the effect the Ukrop’s closing will have on that shopping center. New York-based Cedar Shopping Centers Inc. owns the building where Ukrop’s is now. Bill Jones and his wife, Christine, owns the strip shopping center right next to Ukrop’s that includes Kybecca and Laziza.