Food Lion closing three Columbia County stores

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Three years after boosting its presence in Columbia County, Food Lion is retreating, planning to close three of its grocery stores before Valentine’s Day.

The Food Lion by the Home Depot at Belair and Washington roads is one of three stores in Columbia County slated to close.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
The Food Lion by the Home Depot at Belair and Washington roads is one of three stores in Columbia County slated to close.

Two Martinez and one Evans location are among the 113 underperforming stores that parent company Delhaize America said will close within 30 days.

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

Closing on Feb. 15 or sooner are the grocery stores at 526 N. Belair Road, 3851 Evans to Locks Road and 4087 Old Petersburg Road.

Food Lion spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said the stores could close sooner if merchandise is sold out. Mark down sales will begin Wednesday, she said.

Food Lion is the anchor tenant in the Shoppes at Petersburg on Old Petersburg Road and Village at Furys Ferry on Evans To Locks Road. The third is in the Home Depot-anchored Evans Exchange.

Many shoppers at Food Lion in The Village at Furys Ferry paused Thursday afternoon to read a sign posted on the door saying the store will close.

Evans resident Joe Johnson said he was disappointed because Food Lion is his preferred grocer because of its cleanliness and good sales.

“They have good prices, and there’s a lot of people in this area,” Johnson said. “I don’t understand why it’s closing.”

He also feared that the store’s closing could hurt other businesses in the shopping center.

Evans resident Patty Galvan shared that concern. Her parents own El Alazan Mexican restaurant, which opened in July in the shopping center.

“I think it’s going to be bad for businesses (in the center) also,” Galvan said.

The Evans To Locks Road store opened in October 2009. The Evans Exchange store opened in January 2009.

Phillips-Brown said a majority of the company’s 1,100 stores are leases, so it will not have to sell real estate after the restructuring.

“Food Lion is focused on repositioning our business for future growth,” said Cathy Green Burns, the president of Food Lion, which is headquarted in Salisbury, N.C. “By closing underperforming stores, we will continue to position Food Lion for success, especially in light of our brand strategy results.”

Delhaize is converting Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores in Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia to Food Lion stores and then retiring the Bloom name. The company is also shutting down its distribution center in Clinton, Tenn.

In all, Delhaize will be laying off 4,900 workers. The company will provide severance to eligible workers.

Phillips-Brown said about 100 employees will be affected by the closures in Columbia County.

“We’re working closely with our recruiting team to ensure all open positions are posted so that associates can see the open positions within the organization and apply for those,” she said.

Staff writer Jenna Martin contributed to this article.

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augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 01/12/12 - 08:27 pm
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Oh, now FL isn't so bad, the

Oh, now FL isn't so bad, the one on Fury's Ferry is very close to my house and has everything that I need to zip up there for. The folks working there have always been friendly. Granted there are some things that I only buy at Earth Fare or Publix, close also, but when you need the basics Food Lion is okay. Wine is wine, after all....

burninater
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burninater 01/12/12 - 09:56 pm
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"And wealth envy rears its

"And wealth envy rears its ugly head. Even on a post about a store closing. See post at slickrayder at 11:12.

Thanks liberals. Thanks obama. Your plan is working nicely."

Chillen, I'm not sure what is more pathological: your obsession with Obama or my obsession with your obsession with Obama ;-)

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 01/12/12 - 10:26 pm
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SFB, I definitely agree...I

SFB, I definitely agree...I wouldn't buy shrimp there!!

AC, you are right about non perishables; FL made a nice upscale convenience store, but did we really need to buy food from a company in Belgium?

It would be nice if Fresh Market opened in CC.

augusta citizen
8927
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augusta citizen 01/13/12 - 12:21 am
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Willow, I love Fresh Market

Willow, I love Fresh Market too, don't pop in as often as I should because of Washington Rd. traffic, but one here in CC would be welcome!

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/13/12 - 09:19 am
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I'm trying to channel the

I'm trying to channel the Grocery powers that be and get us an IGA.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 01/13/12 - 09:57 am
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I actually love IGA

I actually love IGA tvveedie.....not as big of a selection but I spend less and they have some of those soul food items that a lot of other stores don't carry.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/13/12 - 10:31 am
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It's definately better than

It's definately better than shopping at a huge chain store and taking whatever they decide to offer you at whatever prices they can get away with. Even more, I don't like the idea of losing my neighborhood Food Lion then having to choose another store to patronize based on it's proximity. "You're gonna get guaranteed low prices IGA !"

Little Lamb
44798
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Little Lamb 01/13/12 - 12:04 pm
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You know, if you get a group

You know, if you get a group of independent grocers together and they form an association, are they independent anymore?

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/13/12 - 01:47 pm
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I don't think they would be.

I don't think they would be. It's a question of how many in the group. If it's enough to manipulate business in a way that a chain store does, then it is no longer independent. If they are pooling resources to conduct business in a manner that is consistent with Mom and Pop stores then they're still acting independently.

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