Food City

Food City, in Kingsport, Tenn., was Grocery Headquarters’ featured retailer in October 2011. Click here to read more about the flagship store located on the site of the old Kingsport Press complex in downtown Kingsport.

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The floral department inside the store.
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Outside Food City’s newest flagship in Kingsport, Tenn.

Food City

GHQ editor Richard Turcsik outside by the fountain, made from the original bricks of the Kingsport Press plant.

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Local produce is merchandised outside during the summer, says Steven C. Smith (left), president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, operator of the Food City chain, and Tommy Stanley, store manager.

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K-VA-T prides itself on the freshness and quality of its local produce.

Food City

Food City only sells Harvest Club bananas, a brand of Topco Associates, its private label supplier. “With Harvest Club we can switch from Dole to Chiquita to Del Monte and our customers will see the continuity of brand,” Smith says.

Food City

The produce department walls are lined with pictures of some of the farmers that K-VA-T does business with, along with detailed explanations of what crops they grow and on how many acres.

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Food City

The salad bar.

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The bakery department

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The store's selection of specialty cheeses.

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The deli department sells rotisserie chickens and meals to go.

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The deli department includes a Rosario’s made-to-order pizza counter, along with an extensive selection of luncheon meats and even more enticing mix of salads, including Watergate, Dreamsickle, Bacon Ranch Pasta, Carbonara, rotisserie chicken, old-fashioned chicken, chicken Caesar, Cowboy Caviar (corn, peas and beans), cole slaw, mushroom and pepper, grape, deviled egg potato and broccoli salad. “The broccoli salad is probably our No. 1 salad item,” Smith says.

Food City

Food City

All of the frozen and refrigerated grocery items are behind LED-lit doors, including hot dogs and other packaged meats.

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Food City

The meat department specializes in Certified Angus Beef, with tenderloins, kabobs and steaks the best sellers, along with the signature Black and Bleu Burger, a hamburger patty containing bleu cheese and black pepper seasoning mix.

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“Seafood is something we are proud of,” Smith says. “Our guys do seafood, we think, as well as any retailer in the country. You wouldn’t think we sell that much seafood here, but it is amazing how much seafood and service meat we sell.”

Food City

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“We’re kind of the last man standing in our markets and video is kind of unique to our stores,” Smith says. “Blockbuster is gone, all of the independents are gone. How long it lasts I’m not sure, but believe it or not, we still do pretty well with video. It is still profitable.”

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The Pharmacy is a new feature for Food City in this end of town and it contains a drive-through window fronting Center Street, the main drag leading into downtown.

Food City

Food City offer their loyalty program, Fuel Bucks Rewards. It allows them to save 15-cents per gallon on gas, up to 20 gallons, at the K-VA-T-owned Gas ‘N Go station out in the parking lot every time they cumulatively spend $150 on groceries.

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