BI-LO Will Remake Local Store Into Discount Grocery


By Trevor Anderson – Spartanburg Herald-Journal

May 31, 2008

As food prices rise and shoppers stretch budgets to buy groceries, Mauldin-based supermarket chain BI-LO is preparing to roll out its cost-conscious Food$mart concept in Spartanburg.

The BI-LO grocery store at 630 Chesnee Highway will close Tuesday and reopen the following Wednesday, June 11, under the Food$mart banner.

Rich Ramey, BI-LO’s director of new business development, said Food$mart will have select regional and national brands, as well as BI-LO’s Southern Home private label products, at low prices.

“We’re very excited,” said BI-LO spokeswoman Joyce Smart. “We think it will be a welcome new addition to the BI-LO brand. It gives shoppers products at lower prices and is a good alternative for people who don’t want to pay for unnecessary frills.”

Food$mart will be able to offer lower prices by trimming back services that may not be as important to customers on a tight budget, going to shorter store hours (8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Sundays) and offering fewer sizes of particular items.

Unlike other no-frills grocery stores, including Aldi and Save-A-Lot, Ramey said Food$mart will have free bags and assistance with bagging groceries. Customers can also enjoy discounts without paying for club memberships or having to buy extra-large portions.

“We will be able to take advantage of exceptional value from manufacturers for limited-time or limited-quantity offerings,” Ramey said in a statement. “Our products will still be triple-inspected, and we will have fresh-cut meats. The difference between Walter’s produce and what we will offer at Food$mart is that sizes may not be as uniform in a bag of potatoes or apples, but the quality will still be excellent.”

A BI-LO store in Lenoir, N.C., was the first to convert to the new concept. That store, Smart said, has received a good response from the community.

Maggie West regularly shops at the Chesnee Highway BI-LO. She said she prefers it to a nearby Food Lion.

“I’m looking forward to it reopening,” West said. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do until then – I’ll probably have to find another BI-LO in the meantime. But if it saves me money on groceries, then I’m all for it. Gas is so expensive, and it’s just one less thing that we’re being gouged on.”

Ramey said Bi-Lo is looking at other locations for future conversion to Food$mart, but has not made any decisions. Employees at the Chesnee Highway store will be offered jobs at Food$mart or other Bi-Los nearby.

Bi-Lo has 222 supermarkets and 16,000 employees in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee.


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