Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted May 30, 2013 09:36 am - Updated May 30, 2013 09:38 am

A turnabout tale for grocery store chains

If you shop at Reid’s or Harveys, the new owner of those grocery chains claims they are going to stay independent and not much will change.

 Behind the scenes, the owner will switch from Food Lion to Bi-Lo. Reid’s is located in Aiken County. There’s a Harveys in Burke County.

 On Memorial Day, Bi-Lo Holdings announced that it would buy those chains (along with Sweetbay, which you’ll find in Florida) for $265 million in cash – no extreme couponing involved – from Delhaize Group, which is the parent company for Food Lion.

 Underlying this is a story of two grocery companies going in opposite directions.


Bi-Lo has been getting larger through acquisitions and mergers, snatching up market share with its combination with Winn-Dixie in 2011 and now buying out brand name store chains from Delhaize.


Delhaize has been shrinking. First it closed Food Lion stores across its footprint, including three in this area, and is now about to sell off three of its store chains.


It is a turnabout from 2009, when Delhaize tried to buy out Bi-Lo when it was coming out of bankruptcy.


The new Bi-Lo/Winn-Dixie has about 690 stores before adding the 11 Reid’s, 72 Harveys and 72 Sweetbay. There’s some red tape to climb through first and the change of ownership won’t happen until the end of this year.



  • Georgia Society of Association Executives annual meeting in Augusta this week. 175 people and $151k in visitor spending. 
  • Urban Outfitters, setting a call center in Augusta, reported total net sales for the first quarter increased to a record $648 million. 
  • Judge: Bidding process to buy Aiken Mall opens June 3. In default of $28.5 million to U.S. Bank. 
  • Georgia’s 226 state-based FDIC insured banks earned $504 million in the first quarter, an increase of about 18 percent to the year before.

TIRES MATTER: Since South Carolina has the title of tire manufacturing capital of the U.S., its state chamber of commerce has established a Tire Manufacturers’ Council.


Council members include Michelin North America, Bridgestone Americas and Continental Tire the Americas. The first chairman will be the vice president of government affairs for Michelin.


Big bucks: Bridgstone is investing $1.2 billion to expand operations in Aiken County. Continental is spending $500 million on its new plant. Michelin is kicking in $1.15 billion for expansion.