Columbia County Food Lion stores close a week early

A woman looks at the closing notice on the front door of the Food Lion on Evans to Locks Road. The three Columbia County Food Lion stores closed a week early.

The brown paper covering the windows indicates the closing of three Food Lion grocery stores in Columbia County, a week before their intended closing date.

In mid-January, the grocery chain’s parent company, Delhaize America, announced the closing of 113 of its underperforming Food Lion stores. Three of those were in Columbia County: 526 N. Belair Road, 3851 Evans to Locks Road and 4087 Old Petersburg Road.

Parking lots were empty, windows were covered and doors were locked Tuesday afternoon at all three locations. Corporate officials said the stores would close Feb. 15 at the latest. About 100 employees were affected by the closures.

The store closings are part of a strategy by Delhaize America to strengthen its U.S. portfolio, which includes shutting a Tennessee distribution center, eliminating the Food Lion name from Florida and rebranding other stores into Food Lions in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.

Two of the three stores were less than three years old. The Evans to Locks Road store opened in October 2009. The Evans Exchange store opened in January 2009.

Food Lion closing three Columbia County stores