December 1, 2010
KINGSPORT — Construction of Food City’s third grocery store in Kingsport and its first store on the west side of town is officially under way.
Company officials gathered with city and community leaders Monday afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new store, to be constructed on the old Quebecor property on Center Street in the downtown district.
Construction crews are already busy at the site, removing debris and building the store’s block walls.
Steve Smith, president and chief executive officer of Abingdon-based K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent of Food City, said he hopes the new store will be under roof by the first of the year and be ready to open next spring.
"There’s no town that’s any more important to our company than Kingsport," Smith told a crowd gathered for the groundbreaking. "This is our third significant investment in this community in the last three years."
Kingsport is home to Food City’s largest store — a 55,000-square-foot facility on Eastman Road. The company built the store three years ago to replace a smaller one at the same location.
And just a few months ago, Food City expanded its Colonial Heights location.
"And now we’ll be able to make an $8-plusmillion-dollar investment here," Smith said. "I can tell you that we work with lots of cities and counties and municipalities, and nowhere can I find one that works better with us than Kingsport."
The downtown store will include 48,500 square feet featuring a drive-through pharmacy, sit-down cafe and Gas-n-Go. The store will create 175 new jobs — half of them full time, Smith said.
In addition, Food City is constructing another 24,000 square feet of retail and office space at the site, Smith said.
The new Food City will sit next door to the Kingsport Farmers Market — a perfect match for a company that purchases millions of dollars in produce from local farmers, Smith said.
"We bought over $6 million of locally grown produce this year and sold it through our supermarkets. That keeps a lot of family farmers working, and we’re awfully proud of that," he said.
He said his company also wants to incorporate design features into the store to remember what the property once was. For years, the site was a book manufacturing plant, first as the Kingsport Press, then as Arcata Graphics, then as Quebecor World. Quebecor donated the 20-acre property to Kingsport in 2007 after it closed its facility there in 2006.
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Republished here courtesy of the Kingsport Times-News
Article written by Sharon Hayes