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Food Lion targets March 3 for opening
food lion
The facade of the former Bi-Lo grocery store off Northside Drive in Statesboro is awaiting the new Food Lion sign to be affixed prior to the expected opening of the store on March 3. - photo by JIM HEALY/staff

The shelves are being restocked, freezers refilled and new employees being hired – all in preparation for the transformation of the former Statesboro Bi-Lo grocery store into a Food Lion.

Signs on the outside of the store indicate it will open Wednesday, March 3, but Matt Harakal, Food Lion’s corporate manager for External Communications cautioned in an email Tuesday that March 3 is the tentative reopen date. Nonetheless, barring an unexpected delay, Food Lion will open its doors next week. Harakal did specify in his email that when the store does open its hours would be 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Bi-Lo officially closed on Feb. 14, but the store’s shelves were emptied several days before that in preparation for the Food Lion switch. Prior to the close, several Bi-Lo employees said they were told Food Lion would open about three weeks after Feb. 14.

Food Lion acquired the Bi-Lo grocery brand last June as part of a 62-store deal with Southeastern Grocers.

The Statesboro Bi-Lo was one of 46 Bi-Lo stores and 16 Harveys Supermarkets in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina that were purchased by Food Lion. The conversions to Food Lion are underway and will last through April before the switch by all stores is complete. Bi-Lo stores in Metter, Sylvania and Vidalia and Harveys in Pembroke, Springfield and Reidsville are part of the Food Lion deal.

The Pembroke, Vidalia and Reidsville stores reopened as Food Lion stores on Feb. 17. A similar press release for all three stores said there would be approximately 75 associates working at each store. Also, each press release said the Food Lion stores in Pembroke, Vidalia and Reidsville gave welcome gifts to fire departments, public schools and city halls in each area.

On Tuesday, the Statesboro Food Lion off Northside Drive was busy being restocked, preparing the facade for a new sign and filled with new employees and perspective employees being interviewed for positions.

Food Lion previously operated several grocery stores in Statesboro, but left the market in 2003.

Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion operates more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and has more than 77,000 employees.

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