Food Lion is ready to unveil nearly 30 remodeled stores in Southeastern North Carolina, showing off new features, new services and expanded inventory. Two dozen of those stores will open to the public Wednesday following a ribbon-cutting at 7:45 a.m., officials said Monday in an email.
The Salisbury, North Carolina-based company’s $50 million-plus investment “includes remodeling the stores, providing eCommerce at every store through pickup and/or home delivery options, training and developing associates to provide the best customer experience and giving back to local communities,” according to a news release Monday. “While renovating and refreshing its look, the redesign reflects Food Lion’s continued commitment to the towns and cities it serves, providing an easy, fresh and affordable shopping experience.”
Store design features aim to increase sustainability as well. Overhead lighting uses LED fixtures; refrigerated cases are equipped with doors to reduce energy consumption.
“The modern solutions impart ambiance, enhance fresh product assortment and reduce energy costs, helping reduce Food Lion’s environmental footprint,” the release stated.
Store upgrades include a larger product assortment with a specific focus on a variety of affordable and easy meal solutions that are ready to eat, ready to cook or ready to heat. Stores will feature more options of healthful foods and a large selection of organic, gluten-free and plant-based items to choose from, including Nature’s Promise, Food Lion’s house brand of products made with no artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors.
New services for shoppers include Food Lion To Go grocery pickup or home delivery service for orders placed on the Food Lion To Go website or app.
Through its Local Goodness program, Food Lion stores offer a wide variety of regional products sourced from local growers or manufacturers. A list of additional North Carolina-based suppliers that may be featured in the store can be found online
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina at Wilmington will be part of the reopening celebration Wednesday, just days after the food bank opened its own new facilities on Greenfield Street. Through its hunger-relief platform Food Lion Feeds, the company contributed $500,000 to support the local food bank's ongoing services and expanded space. Part of Food Lion's investment supports the food bank’s 3,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, the first such facility operated by the nonprofit organization.
In addition to expanded meal production, the kitchen will offer an opportunity for culinary arts workforce development, providing qualified individuals from low-to-moderate-income families to gain sought-after skills and find immediate job opportunities, thereby stabilizing their households and working to achieve self-sufficiency, the release stated.
The impact of Food Lion’s investments in the Wilmington food bank has been substantial, Wilmington branch director Beth Gaglione said in an email Monday,
“In the past 12 months, Food Lion has donated 11.2 million pounds of food to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, which spans 34 counties including the five counties that are a part of the Food Bank at Wilmington: Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover and Pender counties,” she wrote. “In addition, 880 Food Lion employees donated in excess of 2,500 hours of time volunteering inside all six of our food bank branches from the Sandhills to New Bern. They are our number-one food donor across the organization.
“Without retailers like Food Lion and their commitment to feeding hungry people, food banks across our state would not be as well-positioned as we are today to feed hungry people,” Gaglione continued. “Food Lion and their Food Lion Feeds effort is the real deal when it comes to community engagement. We are grateful for their partnership and their commitment to serving this community and all of the communities in their footprint.”
In addition to its donation to the Wilmington food bank branch, Food Lion Feeds also provided another $32,500 to support 13 partner feeding agencies with the purchase of refrigerators and freezers, the release stated.