Lowes Foods is an American supermarket chain based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The chain initially grew in the mountains of North Carolina and rural areas of Virginia, but, starting in the late 1990s, it expanded in metropolitan areas of North Carolina and South Carolina.[citation needed]

Lowes Foods
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1954 (70 years ago) (1954) in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, United States
FounderJim Lowe
Number of locations
80 Stores (2019) 74 Lowes Foods and 7 Just $ave
Area served
South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia
Key people
Tim Lowe (CEO)
ProductsGrocery, deli, bakery, meat, seafood, produce, dairy, floral
RevenueIncrease $1.6 billion (2007)
Number of employees
8,000 (2019) [1]
ParentAlex Lee Inc.
SubsidiariesJust $ave
KJ's Market
IGA Southeast
Lowes Foods in Simpsonville, South Carolina

History edit

Beginnings edit

Lowes Foods started in 1954 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, with a single store opened by Jim Lowe (former co-owner of what became Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, and son of its founder). Lowe sold that store to J. C. Faw. Expansion in Wilkesboro and the mountain regions of North Carolina shortly followed.[2]

1980s to 2000s: Company shifts edit

In 1984, Merchants Distributors, Inc. (MDI), a wholesale distributor of food and non-food items to grocery stores headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina, bought Lowes Foods.[2][3] Lowes added 19 more stores between 1986 and 1990.[4] In 1997, MDI parent company Alex Lee Inc. bought Byrd's Food Stores Inc. of Burlington, North Carolina, which had 43 stores. Lowes Foods had 56 stores, few in the area served by Byrd's. The Byrd's stores became Lowes Foods stores.[5][6] In 2000, Delhaize America had to sell 38 Hannaford stores to satisfy antitrust concerns. Lowes Foods bought 12 of these, six (plus one under construction) in the Research Triangle region and six along the North Carolina coast.[7]

In 2007, Lowes Foods opened its first fuel station at a Hickory, North Carolina, store. As of August 2016, 14 Lowes Foods stores had fuel stations. Lowes Foods offered a five-cent discount per gallon of gas with each $100 spent inside the store (excl. alcohol and gift card purchases) which was redeemable at Lowes Foods fuel stations or any participating Speedway or WilcoHess locations in North and South Carolina.[8][9]

Until October 4, 2009, Lowes Foods used S&H Greenpoints on their store discount card; this was replaced with "Fresh Rewards" on October 5, 2009.[10] Many of Lowes Foods stores also offer Lowes Foods to Go, where shoppers can order groceries online and drive to the store to pick them up. Business and home delivery is available at select locations throughout North and South Carolina.

2010s: Location changes and new concepts edit

In March 2011, Lowes Foods opened a 'frugal cousin' series of stores called Just $ave. These stores are located all in North Carolina and mainly in rural areas, targeting budget-conscious shoppers. The first location opened was in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.[11] In August 2011, Lowes Foods began the Aisle50 program in the Carolinas, intending to expand to other areas and other chains in the future. Deals from aisle50.com will not likely replace coupons, but shoppers will be able to buy certain products for about half their normal prices.[12]

On June 1, 2012, the company announced that they were leaving the Charlotte, North Carolina, market by trading ten Charlotte area stores with Harris Teeter for six Western North Carolina stores and $26.5 million in cash.[13] By March 2015, Lowes Foods began shifting its store portfolio and had closed five of the six stores it acquired from Harris Teeter as well as stores in Cary, Newland, West Jefferson, and Greenville, North Carolina. These closures were announced as part of a comprehensive growth strategy that would include rebranding all existing Lowes Foods stores by 2019 and entering into the Greenville, South Carolina market in 2016. Lowes Foods plans to add three to five Greenville stores as part of its growth strategy.[14][15][16][17][18] In 2013, New CEO Tim Lowe had plans to change their experiences in their stores and wanted to invent a new concept for their locations that showed their "Carolina Roots". The development began with in-depth consumer research and a series of overnight workshops designed to get the very best ideas from managers across all facets of the business including all store managers and many from MDI. During these workshops, Lowes Foods created a number of new concepts, including Chicken Kitchen, SausageWorks, Pick & Prep, and the Community[19] In early 2014, Lowes Foods remodeled their location in Clemmons, North Carolina, a suburb of Winston-Salem, North Carolina where the headquarters is located. This was the first location to feature the new concept. There was also a new Pizza and Panini program which would be eventually known as Sammy's.[clarification needed]. The company completed most of the rest of the Forsyth County locations including some stores in the Triangle Region of North Carolina . The company would also renovate existing and construct new locations in other regions of North Carolina and South Carolina with the concepts throughout the rest of the decade. These later projects would extend a few more concepts.

In August 2016, Lowes Foods announced the closures of two Lowes Foods stores in North Wilkesboro and Shallotte, North Carolina, as well as a Just $ave location in Dobson, North Carolina. In July 2019, the closures of three stores—two in the Hickory, North Carolina-area, as well as the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, location on Cipriana Drive, was announced. The closures are part of an overall investment strategy to accelerate growth.[20]

Locations edit

Lowes Foods Just $ave KJ's Market IGA Southeast Fuel Centers Total stores
South Carolina 17 0 25 23 7 65
North Carolina 63 6 0 3 13 70
Virginia 1 0 0 0 0 1
Georgia 0 0 8 5 0 13
Total 81 6 33 31 20 149

Lowes Foods, Just $ave, KJ's Market, and corporate-owned IGA Southeast locations are considered "stores". Fuel Centers are part of actual stores and therefore do not count towards total store counts.

References edit

  1. ^ "Challenge Validation". Dun & Bradstreet - Accelerate Growth and Improve Business Performance. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Carolinas FYI: About Lowe's and Lowes," The Charlotte Observer, March 16, 2003.
  3. ^ "Who We are". Archived from the original on August 8, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "Company History". Archived from the original on August 16, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Karine Michael, "Lowes Foods Swallows Byrd's," The Herald-Sun, September 30, 1997.
  6. ^ "In the Region," Winston-Salem Journal, February 27, 1998.
  7. ^ Mike Ramsey, "38 Sold As Part of Merger; 6 Hannafords in Area Will Become Lowes Food Stores," Star-News, June 1, 2000.
  8. ^ Daniel, Fran (December 5, 2010). "Stomping Grounds: Fleet Feet Sports is enjoying more space at new location in old Master's Loft store". Winston-Salem Journal. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "Gas Rewards". Archived from the original on August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  10. ^ Fran Daniel, "Lowes Drops Greenpoints," Winston-Salem Journal, October 2, 2009.
  11. ^ "One Year Anniversary Celebration at Just $ave in Pilot Mountain – Winston-Salem, NC – March 3, 2012" (Press release). Lowes Foods. March 3, 2012. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  12. ^ Dunn, Amy (August 14, 2011). "Lowes to offer daily grocery deals". News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Archived from the original on September 25, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  13. ^ "Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. Announces Agreement with Lowe's Food Stores, Inc. to Purchase and Sell Certain Assets". Harris Teeter. June 1, 2012. Archived from the original on August 11, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  14. ^ "Lowes Foods to Close Asheville Location". Lowes Foods. November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  15. ^ "Lowes Foods is closing 2 Charlotte-area stores". August 12, 2014. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Lowes Foods is closing 2 Charlotte-area stores". March 10, 2015. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "Lowes Foods in Greenville closing in September". August 22, 2015. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  18. ^ "Lowes Foods announces plans for Greenville store". February 27, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  19. ^ "Raised Right Here and Proud of It". Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  20. ^ "Lowes Foods supermarket in North Wilkesboro to close by Sept. 17". Wilkes Journal-Patriot. August 5, 2016. Archived from the original on November 10, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2019.

External links edit