Courtney James: 704-310-3768
It wasn't quite six weeks ago Food Lion announced it would purchase three Farm Fresh stores that would otherwise close for business in the greater Norfolk, Va., market. On Wednesday, May 9, these three stores, located at 1615 General Booth Blvd in Virginia Beach, Va., 608 Mercury Blvd. in Hampton, Va., and 683 South Hughes Blvd. in Elizabeth City, N.C., proudly opened its doors to its newest neighbors.
Food Lion is so excited to add these three new locations to its network of more than 100 stores serving the greater Norfolk area," said Food Lion President, Meg Ham. "We are part of the fabric of this community. We've been here in the towns and cities of Hampton Roads nourishing our neighbors and customers for nearly 40 years. With the addition of these three new stores, we have an even greater opportunity to serve more customers with fresh, quality products at affordable prices every day with the caring, friendly service they expect from Food Lion."
And serve the community Food Lion did at three eventful grand opening celebrations the morning of May 9. Each store held ribbon cutting celebrations with local dignitaries present, made check presentations to community partners and gave the first 100 customers in line free tote bags and mystery gift card valued between $5 and $200 before upon opening its doors at 8 a.m.
Below we've included summaries from each event to capture the emotion and excitement of these grand openings, which meant so much to our local store teams, communities and the greater company.
Be sure to keep up with us here on the Lion's Tale of follow us on Twitter @FoodLionNews for the latest updates!
A Fresh, New Food Lion in Virginia Beach, Va.
Customers near and far crowded the front of the new Food Lion store at 1615 General Booth Blvd., in Virginia Beach on Wednesday to help store manager Diane Hollobough cut the ribbon and celebrate the new store's grand opening.
The crowd of more than 150 customers, associates and company leaders celebrated together as they toured the new store, complete with a fresh salad bar, pharmacy, hand-battered fried chicken and more exciting new features.
"Every improvement Food Lion has made has been with our customers in mind," said Hollobough. "We want our customers to know they can count on Food Lion for that every day, all at the affordable prices they have been able to count on from us for the last 60 years."
Understanding that it is more than just our customers that count on Food Lion for their everyday grocery needs, Hollobough also announced a donation of 30,000 meals to the stores local feeding agency, Freedom Fellowship, which she presented to Ruth Jones Nichols, the CEO of the Foodbank of Southeast Virginia and the Eastern Shore.
It was new introductions for some, but also opportunities to reconnect with former Farm Fresh associates that were welcomed into the Food Lion family this week.
"Beautiful," "warm and inviting," and "a welcome change" were some of the joyful expressions customers shared as they explored their new store and wandered down aisles of fresh and local produce, organic and gluten free offerings, and Nature's Place natural and organic products free from unwanted ingredients.
The smiling faces present on Wednesday helped create a warm welcome for one of Food Lion's newest stores, and we look forward to offering customers new and old the great products at the consistently low prices they have always counted on from Food Lion at this new location.
Hampton Residents Celebrate Their New Neighborhood Store
Walking up to the brand new Food Lion on Mercury Blvd. on Wednesday morning, you'd have thought most of the city turned up to celebrate.
"This is my neighborhood store," a shopper said as she stood in line waiting for a gift card, one of the first 100 to arrive before 8 a.m. "We can't think Food Lion enough for buying this store. We're so happy."
Local dignitaries also came to mark the occasion, including Mayor Donnie Tuck, Councilman Jimmy Gray, Councilman Billy Hobs Jr., and more.
Food Lion has been such a great partner in our community," Mayor Tuck shared with the audience of Food Lion leaders and associates, community partners and media. "We are delighted you have chosen to open this store. My own experiences of Food Lion have been positive. I can always get in and out while savings money so I know the folks in this area are excited!"
Store manager Dave Bergeron also spoke to the expanded offerings in the store, from pharmacy to grab & go items, to fresh produce and gluten-free options, to salad and wing bars. And, of course, you can't forget the new, delicious, hand-battered fried chicken.
"That chicken is GOOD Bergeron," a customer was customer to mention upon entering the store. Many customers were concerned about the chicken in particular given Farm Fresh was known for their recipe. The feedback from customers proved our recipe was exceeding expectations.
Following remarks Mayor Tuck cut the ribbon and the more than 200 customers lining the building came to experience their fresh, new Food Lion! The first 100 received gift cards, and all customers received totes as well as free samples of private brand snacks and LaCroix and Red Bull products.
It was a great day at Food Lion coming together to experience the fresh food and low prices our neighbors know they can count on.
Loyal Customers Find Themselves at Home in Their New Elizabeth City Food Lion
The Mayor of Elizabeth City, N.C., is pretty fond of Food Lion.
"When Farm Fresh decided to leave us, I sort of panicked," explained Mayor Bettie Parker. "I said oh my, yet another empty store, but then I saw that Food Lion was going to take its place, and I thought, 'way to go' because I am a Food Lion customer!"
Mayor Bettie Parker, Commissioner Charles Jordan, Councilwoman Anita Hummer and Councilman Gabriel Adkins arrived early the morning of May 9 to celebrate the grand opening of their new neighborhood Food Lion store.
"Whenever a new business opens, it brings new jobs and revenue to the city, so we are glad to welcome Food Lion," said Parker.
The new store, housed in the former Farm Fresh location at 683 Hughes Blvd., had a line of customers formed outside before day break. In anticipation of the grand opening, waiting customers were hopeful to be one of the first to enter the store and receive a mystery Food Lion gift card valued up to $200 and free tote bag given to the first 100 customers.
Food Lion leaders gathered with associates prior to the stores opening for a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the day. Delony Spraggins, Senior Vice President Retail Services, Angela Reynolds-Wiegand, Director of Shrink and Analytics, and Matt Nereim, Vice President Strategy and PMO attended and shared many congratulations with store manager Keith Sanderlin and his store team.
Shortly after the ceremony, longtime customer Joyce Cesil pulled into the checkout lane with a basket full of grocery staples and a few new items. Joyce, like many others, took notice of the expanded assortment available in her new Food Lion store.
"I am delighted to see a store like this now in the area, said Cesil. "I've always preferred Food Lion; it has always been my store. I'm a busy person, so to have a store that I can find everything thing in so I don't have to shop multiple stores is just great."
Food Lion is proud to continue delivering its Easy Fresh and Affordable strategy to the towns and cities we serve. To the people of Elizabeth City, welcome to your new Food Lion!
Courtney James: 704-310-3768