Food Lion celebrates grand re-openings at Mahaley Avenue Food Lion

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2016

By Amanda Raymond

SALISBURY — All the changes going on lately at Food Lion stores have been made “with our customers in mind,” Patricia Ebright said Wednesday morning as the grocery chain celebrated the grand re-openings of its renovated stores.

“They told us they want a grocery experience where it’s easy to shop, easy to save and easy to figure out what’s for dinner tonight,” said Ebright, manager of the Food Lion at 123 Mahaley Ave., where the ceremony took place.

“We want our customers to know they can count on Food Lion for that every day at affordable prices,” Ebright said.

Food Lion representatives and associates, including President Meg Ham, along with city and county representatives, celebrated Food Lion’s completed store renovations, lowered prices and customer service trainings in the Charlotte area with a ribbon cutting at the Mahaley Avenue store.

Food Lion stores all over the county celebrated the company’s $215 million investment, the second-largest investment in the grocer’s history, to revamp 142 stores in the area. Physical changes include expanded assortment and item selection in all departments, including more organic and gluten-free items, pre-sliced deli meats and cheeses, new signage to help customers find items faster and an improved checkout process.

Associates also went through retraining to enhance customer service, and hundreds of new associates were hired.

“It is a holistic reintroduction and not only a physical plant change,” Ham said after the ceremony.

Food Lion also continued its mission of eliminating hunger in local communities through Food Lion Feeds by donating $1,000, the equivalent of 10,000 meals, to Rowan Helping Ministries.

The grocer donated a mobile food pantry, valued at more than $100,000 or about 1 million meals, to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

The first 100 customers to visit the Food Lions around the area on Wednesday also received $10 gift cards and thermal tote bags.

Rep. Harry Warren told the crowd that he was proud of Food Lion’s commitment to the community.

“Food Lion has always been a great corporate citizen, providing opportunities for employment, for growth, for the citizens of Rowan County, and it’s just exciting to see and be a part of this activity this morning,” he said.

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander said Ralph Ketner, co-founder of Food Lion, who passed away in May, would have been happy with the changes.

“I know that Ralph Ketner is looking down this morning with a very big smile,” she said.

Greg Edds, Rowan County Board of Commissioners chairman, said he and the rest of the community have sensed the changes in the associates.

“In the past 60 days, I have seen a culture change at Food Lion from the front line to the back line,” he said. “It is nothing short of remarkable.”

Ebright said everything Food Lion changed was for a better customer experience.

“I think Food Lion is finally listening to what the customers are asking for and actually acting upon what they’re requesting,” she said.

Ham said the company put a lot of hard work into the changes at the Food Lion stores and was excited that they were complete.

“It’s great to have the 142 stores remodeled and set to reopen and reintroduce Food Lion to the greater Charlotte community,” she said.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.