Food Lion will wrap up its $158 million investment to upgrade nearly 100 supermarkets across the Carolinas with ribbon-cuttings and giveaways at each store Wednesday.
As part of the 7:45 a.m. ceremonies before the 8 a.m. store openings, the first 100 customers in line at each store will receive a reusable shopping bag, a company-branded apron and a $10 gift card. One shopper will get a $250 gift card.
At 5 p.m., the North Carolina-based grocer will give out another round of $10 gift cards to 100 customers at all of its stores.
As part of the investment, the supermarket chain will donate a food truck valued at $120,000 to Lowcountry Food Bank. The company also planned to hire 2,000 additional workers as part of the makeover.
Food Lion renovated 15 Charleston-area stores and 67 others throughout South Carolina and 10 in North Carolina as part of the move announced earlier this year.
The updated South Carolina stores are in the metro areas of Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Myrtle Beach.
The Charleston-area stores include four in North Charleston, two in West Ashley, two in the Ladson area, and one each on peninsular Charleston and James and Johns islands. Others are in Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Ravenel and Summerville.
Among the improvements, six S.C. stores — including the Ravenel location and others in Andrews, Georgetown, Columbia, Florence and Dillon — are now equipped with walk-in produce coolers to keep fruits and vegetables fresher longer, the grocer said.
The investment is part of a plan to reinvigorate the stores with an expanded assortment of products, including more local, natural, organic and gluten-free items. Deli/bakery and customer service areas also were enhanced. Additionally, hand-battered fried chicken will be available in the delis at all stores.
“From our expanded variety and product assortment, newly reorganized stores, to a more efficient checkout experience, every change we’ve made will make it easier for our customers to find the quality products they have come to expect from Food Lion,” company president Meg Ham said in a statement.
The supermarket operator opened its doors as Food Town in 1957 in Salisbury, between Charlotte and Greensboro. It was renamed Food Lion in 1983.
The chain is now owned by Ahold Delhaize, a Dutch retail investor, and operates 1,030 grocery stores with 63,000 employees in 10 states.
About 80 percent of the company's stores have now been upgraded. The grocer also is investing $40 million to modernize 23 stores in Virginia.