State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. No non-grocery posts.
BatteryMill
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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » May 15th, 2019, 5:26 pm

storewanderer wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 8:09 pm
The round store was pretty nice. Lousy bakery/deli but I did like the feel and layout of the round store very much.

I went into another Food Lion somewhat near BWI Airport and was a little shocked. It was the usual little Food Lion of the 80's. It was pretty busy with 3-4 checkouts open and customers all around the store. But it had a full, active bakery and deli. There were at least 5 employees in the two departments. The deli steadily had 2-3 customers buying lunchmeat. Big case full of lunchmeats. Case full of various hot foods (wings/chicken/sides). A real bakery that actually appeared to be baking some items off in the store using the oven vs. thaw and sell everything like they usually have. Full looking produce department. This is a rare sight.
One of my Food Lions is actually a pretty busy store, being one of the only alternatives to Walmart/Aldi. The bakery side is pretty small but the deli is nicely stocked overlooking Bloom's former "TableTop" section. I see customers sometimes though this is mostly in the day versus after work hours. The produce section doesn't have a whole lot of shelves but it isn't the worst stock around either. There is also another FL I know of with that round concept.

As for what you said in the Safeway remodel thread, maybe Food Lion could leave these stores behind. This is considering that this is a rather sparse market for them and of course their corporate cousin Giant-MD is the more important grocer here to Ahold Delhaize. Giant may find a way to squeeze in but they also may not as they're going for larger stores than a puny Food Lion. If the banner isn't successful enough they might sell to someone like Weis who bought the divested stores down in Stafford, Fredericksburg and parts of Maryland. If they will manage to keep Food Lion, perhaps the remodel wave will come here soon (as they're presently remodeling in the Shenandoah Valley).

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » October 1st, 2019, 3:31 pm

A relevant update to this story - the Haymarket, VA store is closing: https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news ... e2d33.html
This store likely suffered with the plethora of grocery options in the area (including a Walmart across the street), as well as poor access/visibility from US 15.

While it demonstrates Food Lion's weaknesses, I wouldn't say it's a harbinger of Food Lion leaving the area. There are still Food Lions that have their places across NoVA, MD, and DE. Additionally, they've been investing in other stores - here they're starting to get Food Lion To Go pickup lanes, so it could be a sign they're here to stay.
Also since my last post Food Lion has wrapped their Harrisonburg/Charlottesville remodels - not sure where remodel activity is currently happening, however at this point 80% of their store base has upgraded. Source:https://chainstoreage.com/store-spaces/ ... e-remodels

What I'd say comprises the 20% are their fringe stores, like those in this region and outlying states such as Georgia and Tennessee. Out of everything, I am the most certain these stores will stay and join the remodel program.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by Knight » October 2nd, 2019, 6:34 am

Food Lion #2507 joins other Food Lion stores that have failed against hypermarket Walmart Supercenter. Walmart Supercenter has helped weak supermarket competitors including Food Lion close stores.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by mjhale » October 2nd, 2019, 6:57 pm

BatteryMill wrote:
October 1st, 2019, 3:31 pm
What I'd say comprises the 20% are their fringe stores, like those in this region and outlying states such as Georgia and Tennessee. Out of everything, I am the most certain these stores will stay and join the remodel program.
If you look at what Ahold has done with Giant one will note that any store with older or very old decor has been closed. The only exception is the University Mall store near George Mason University. It got a demo and rebuild as a part of the shopping center renovations. But even that project happened long after the rest of the center Giant is in got a facelift. The two most recent Giant store closures in my area - Fairfax City and Hayfield (Alexandria) both had the Fresh Ideas, Great Values interior. And of course the straight out the 90s neon interior Milford Mill store in Baltimore is now closed.

I have to wonder what Ahold's purpose is with Food Lion in the immediate DC area. The two stores closest to me - Leesburg and Herndon - both still have the Bloom interior. The Herndon store is near where I work and it is never that busy. There is a huge Giant nearby in Franklin Farm along with a brand new Giant in the former Herndon Shoppers. Within five miles of each of these Food Lion stores you have all of the usual competitors. If Food Lion has renovated 80 percent of the store base is there other 20 percent going to be left to die? Food Lion is the weakest competitor in Northern Virginia. I think Ahold kept them around to have a few strategically located stores in their group and to keep competitors out. If Ahold doesn't renovate the few DC area Food Lion stores soon I think they are going away when the leases on the buildings are up.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by buckguy » October 3rd, 2019, 5:57 am

The FL near where I work has held-on but it's near a huge, high volume Giant, a new Safeway, and the planned location of a Wegman. H-T and Shoppers are not far away, either. Perhaps it's the absence of WalMart that keeps the store in business, along with it being the only store in Montgomery County. It was a Bloom for a while which they must have thought would make them more competitive here.

If FL can manage without doing media buys, then they probably will keep it going in peripheral and odd locations in the DC, which seem to be what they have in the DC area. The gradual demise of Shoppers theoretically should help them but Shoppers is concentrated in area like southern Prince George's County where they lack representation, so Shopper's decline only helps if they can buy and figure out what to do with the stores, and they'd still have to deal with Aldi and the recent entry of Lidl.

One consideration with DC is that there is a very long history of chains maintaining a relatively long presence w/o having many stores: Acme (despite having been here since the 20s) and Food Fair had very small store counts for decades and used DC as an adjunct to bigger operations in Baltimore. Weis had stores in the outer burbs for a couple decades. The predecessor to Shoppers, Jumbo never had many stores. OTOH, some small holders were very short lived: Kroger made an acquisition that never succeeded c. 1959-64 and Shop-Rite made a brief unsuccessful appearance in the 60s.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » October 4th, 2019, 1:47 pm

mjhale wrote:
October 2nd, 2019, 6:57 pm
If you look at what Ahold has done with Giant one will note that any store with older or very old decor has been closed. The only exception is the University Mall store near George Mason University. It got a demo and rebuild as a part of the shopping center renovations. But even that project happened long after the rest of the center Giant is in got a facelift. The two most recent Giant store closures in my area - Fairfax City and Hayfield (Alexandria) both had the Fresh Ideas, Great Values interior. And of course the straight out the 90s neon interior Milford Mill store in Baltimore is now closed.

I have to wonder what Ahold's purpose is with Food Lion in the immediate DC area. The two stores closest to me - Leesburg and Herndon - both still have the Bloom interior. The Herndon store is near where I work and it is never that busy. There is a huge Giant nearby in Franklin Farm along with a brand new Giant in the former Herndon Shoppers. Within five miles of each of these Food Lion stores you have all of the usual competitors. If Food Lion has renovated 80 percent of the store base is there other 20 percent going to be left to die? Food Lion is the weakest competitor in Northern Virginia. I think Ahold kept them around to have a few strategically located stores in their group and to keep competitors out. If Ahold doesn't renovate the few DC area Food Lion stores soon I think they are going away when the leases on the buildings are up.
Giant is obviously more important here than Food Lion - their remodels have been consistent, and they've been successful in nearly every part of the region. As of now there are still some exceptions, such as Accokeek, Dale City and Livingston Square. While the latter is a newer store that doesn't seem to have moved forward with a remodel yet, the others have redevelopment plans that are still stuck in limbo. Overall Ahold has definitely kept these stores up well, at the expense of classic retail history that's mostly been forgotten. Those closed stores weren't in the best locations, nor had the best reasons to expand.

Food Lion is certainly in a tough spot here with the presence of cousin chain Giant, discounter options and more expensive ones. At this point it's one of the very few regions where Ahold and Delhaize chains collide. That being said they certainly had a place before the new wave of grocers, serving various suburban area, though the Bloom/Bottom Dollar experiment and subsequent closings stretched them thin. I haven't been to that many area Food Lions so I cannot tell how each performs. From what I've seen some are in decent spots where they serve groceries to a whole community or town (this is true in the inner suburbs as well) while others are just too close to the competition. If there was someone to acquire them, I'd assume it would be Weis as they've found success in these kinds of stores before and could easily re-enter their old region. Interestingly enough, the Food Lion in Lake Ridge is just across from a Giant - and was formerly a Weis itself, still retaining the old floorplan.

The only stores Food Lion remodeled in this area after 2007 were the former Bottom Dollar locations. From what I've read their Bottom Dollar conversions heavily skewed the floorplan and had a decor package tailored exclusively to their marketing. This likely necessitated Food Lion to give those stores updates around 2013, whereas the Bloom format largely involved technological/prepared foods upgrades and didn't require remodels back to Food Lion. Interestingly enough FL did schedule remodels for those former Blooms, but for some odd reason none of them ever happened.
buckguy wrote:
October 3rd, 2019, 5:57 am
The FL near where I work has held-on but it's near a huge, high volume Giant, a new Safeway, and the planned location of a Wegman. H-T and Shoppers are not far away, either. Perhaps it's the absence of WalMart that keeps the store in business, along with it being the only store in Montgomery County. It was a Bloom for a while which they must have thought would make them more competitive here.

If FL can manage without doing media buys, then they probably will keep it going in peripheral and odd locations in the DC, which seem to be what they have in the DC area. The gradual demise of Shoppers theoretically should help them but Shoppers is concentrated in area like southern Prince George's County where they lack representation, so Shopper's decline only helps if they can buy and figure out what to do with the stores, and they'd still have to deal with Aldi and the recent entry of Lidl.

One consideration with DC is that there is a very long history of chains maintaining a relatively long presence w/o having many stores: Acme (despite having been here since the 20s) and Food Fair had very small store counts for decades and used DC as an adjunct to bigger operations in Baltimore. Weis had stores in the outer burbs for a couple decades. The predecessor to Shoppers, Jumbo never had many stores. OTOH, some small holders were very short lived: Kroger made an acquisition that never succeeded c. 1959-64 and Shop-Rite made a brief unsuccessful appearance in the 60s.
Some of the places where Food Lion landed over the years are peculiar. As I’ve mentioned earlier, their strength in locating in newer/rural areas definitely contributed to this.

I’ve seen a few instances of FL making advertisement attempts, such as billboards, circulars, and commercials every now and then.

Shoppers is a story for another thread, though from what I now know there are multiple buyers looking into that chain. Giant has acquired upwards of 12 stores, while Safeway isn’t making any moves. Perhaps Food Lion will go into those smaller stores, but Maryland is certainly more Weis-focused so it’s a little tough to tell.

Food Lion would easily fit into the first category you mentioned. They have had a steady presence in the suburbs, however they’ve never went inside the Beltway (except for a short-lived Bloom in Annandale). Only time will tell what their next move will be.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » October 22nd, 2019, 1:47 pm

I have only now found out about these, but the Food Lions in Chantilly (South Riding) and Laskin Rd in Virginia Beach are closing along with Haymarket.

The South Riding store I was not expecting as much to close, considering it was less maligned than the Haymarket location and still had a purpose. Though I will predict its downfall to the Walmart that has opened recently, as well as steady competition from Harris Teeter nearby. Not to mention, this store is also within 2 miles of a Giant-MD store, so perhaps it could be a late divestiture. Food Lion was the first modern grocery store in that portion of Loudoun County, similar to what they also were in PWC.

I cannot really say what factors closed the VA Beach store. Surprisingly it was remodeled to the latest FL package in 2018.

EDIT (10/23/2019): Food Lion has also recently closed a store in the Baltimore area, another region where they have a waning presence and no remodel plans. https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/a ... story.html
Recently, a Walmart and a Harris Teeter have both opened up along the road, though most importantly it is across the street from a Giant store.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by mjhale » October 23rd, 2019, 7:57 pm

BatteryMill wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 1:47 pm
I have only now found out about these, but the Food Lions in Chantilly (South Riding) and Laskin Rd in Virginia Beach are closing along with Haymarket.

The South Riding store I was not expecting as much to close, considering it was less maligned than the Haymarket location and still had a purpose. Though I will predict its downfall to the Walmart that has opened recently, as well as steady competition from Harris Teeter nearby. Not to mention, this store is also within 2 miles of a Giant-MD store, so perhaps it could be a late divestiture. Food Lion was the first modern grocery store in that portion of Loudoun County, similar to what they also were in PWC.

I cannot really say what factors closed the VA Beach store. Surprisingly it was remodeled to the latest FL package in 2018.

EDIT (10/23/2019): Food Lion has also recently closed a store in the Baltimore area, another region where they have a waning presence and no remodel plans. https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/a ... story.html
Recently, a Walmart and a Harris Teeter have both opened up along the road, though most importantly it is across the street from a Giant store.
I think you are starting to see the slow and eventual closure of Food Lion in Northern Virginia. Giant is clearly the dominant of the two chains that Ahold owns in Northern Virginia. Giant is relocating stores to better or newer locations where possible. And Giant stores are getting remodels. I just don't see the purpose of Food Lion anymore with Wal-Mart Supercenters, Aldi, Lidl, Dollar Stores, etc all selling groceries on the low end of the price spectrum. Ahold should cut their loses and focus on Giant. With Shoppers going away and Safeway wavering as always Ahold has a chance to regain some ground in the great middle of Washington, DC grocery.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » October 24th, 2019, 5:19 pm

mjhale wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 7:57 pm
I think you are starting to see the slow and eventual closure of Food Lion in Northern Virginia. Giant is clearly the dominant of the two chains that Ahold owns in Northern Virginia. Giant is relocating stores to better or newer locations where possible. And Giant stores are getting remodels. I just don't see the purpose of Food Lion anymore with Wal-Mart Supercenters, Aldi, Lidl, Dollar Stores, etc all selling groceries on the low end of the price spectrum. Ahold should cut their loses and focus on Giant. With Shoppers going away and Safeway wavering as always Ahold has a chance to regain some ground in the great middle of Washington, DC grocery.
I understand this is not a territory where Food Lion has clearance to grow anymore, especially as they have rarely ventured inside the Beltway (or the Fairfax Co. Parkway for that matter). For now I am still holding out to see if FL will bring their remodeling campaign up here. Perhaps I'll give them a year to see if the stores they intend to keep will join the remodel program. Keep in mind they will still have a solid presence in rural VA/MD/DE surrounding this area, where I could see remodels being more likely. In Salisbury, they managed to retain Food Lion in exchange for a Giant-MD store in town.

Station Plaza in Woodbridge, VA, home to a Food Lion, was recently sold and plans are in place for redevelopment within 5 years. Seeing as how FL does not have any urban-format stores at the moment, chances are they may not make the tenant roster in the new mixed-use center.

https://www.insidenova.com/news/busines ... 0b3a6.html

And indeed, Giant-MD's recent comeback is definitely something to watch in the grocery business. One interesting thing, a remodeled store I have been to had the taller shelves akin to pre-Ahold stores. Not saying they're back to their classic form, but it's unique and a step-up from the most constrictive days of branding.

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Re: State of Food Lion in the Washington D.C. area

Post by BatteryMill » November 12th, 2019, 5:00 pm

So apparently, it seems as if Food Lion may be continuing to invest in the area after all. Construction bids are going up in Northern VA and the Eastern Shore for certain Food Lions. I am not sure when they will begin, though I'll expect it early next year considering remodels don't always occur at this point of the year. Once it happens, the Bloom package may disappear completely, marking the end of an era.

Links to the bids:

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