Food City expands into Franklin County with Winchester store opening Wednesday

·3 min read

Jun. 19—Food City is expanding into Middle Tennessee with a new supermarket set to open Wednesday in Winchester and another grocery store planned to be added early next year in Cookeville.

Steven D. Smith, who heads K-A-T Food Stores that operate the Food City stores, said the new grocery outlets will be the westernmost locations yet for the Abington, Virginia-based chain. The new supermarket in Winchester will be the 136th store for the 66-year-old grocery chain founded by Smith's father, Jack, in 1955.

"We like the area in Franklin and Coffee counties where we see a lot of growth and opportunity for us," Smith said Friday. "With the lake and the influx of a lot of tourists in the summertime, it's a good place to do business."

The 54,000-square-foot store in Winchester, the first for Food City in Franklin County, was built as a free-standing store by developer Mike Bunch, who owns the Morristown-based Michael Bunch Development. The new supermarket will be open seven days a week and employ about 220 full- and part-time workers, Smith said.

The new location includes a Food City Gas 'n Go fuel center, a pharmacy, a Starbucks cafe, an in-store bakery and deli, a floral boutique and full-service meat and seafood departments. For added convenience, the Food City Pharmacy features a drive-thru and a private consultation room and the store also has a beer tasting station, GoCart curbside pick-up, home delivery and DoorDash online meal delivery service.

"This will have all of the bells and whistles you can expect from a new Food City," Smith said.

Franklin County already has several local grocery chains along with national competitors such as Walmart, Kroger and Sav-A-Lot stores. But Smith said the new Food City will offer a new and fresh alternative for grocery shoppers in the region.

"Our valued customers can expect to find a wide variety of top-quality products at the lowest possible prices, exceptional customer service, and some exciting conveniences and services," Smith said.

Jim Lawson, a former store manager for Food City in East Ridge, will serve as the store manager for the new Winchester supermarket.

The new store includes several award-winning energy-saving concepts, ranging from energy-efficient glass cooler doors, parking lot lights and refrigeration systems to motion sensors and 100% LED lighting, as well as an open rafter ceiling design.

Smith said the expansion into Winchester and Cookeville also creates opportunities for other stores in the Chattanooga region.

"We think there will be opportunities to backfill that area with some stores between there and Chattanooga," Smith said.

In Hamilton County, work is expected to begin next month on a downtown Food City store being built at the former Carter Distributing Co. site on Broad Street. The grocery chain also closed Friday on the property to relocate its supermarket on Ringgold Road in East Ridge into a new and bigger store.

Food City, which entered Southeast Tennessee in 2015 with its purchase of 29 Bi-Lo stores, operates retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia, and north Alabama.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340

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