Lowes Foods is hatching a new store concept with a food hall-style design and space for customer and community events.
The 25,000-square-foot store will occupy a former Earth Fare supermarket space at 14021 Boren St. in Huntersville, N.C., within the Charlotte market area, and feature specialized foodservice, entertainment elements and frictionless shopping, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Lowes said.
An opening date has not yet been set. Lowes has opened a hiring center for the Huntersville store plans to fill 100 jobs.
On the entertainment side, the new store will house a mezzanine area where customers can book events such as birthday parties, book clubs or team celebrations, as well as enjoy a pint of beer or glass of wine while listening to local musicians, according to Lowes. Planned events like floral arranging classes, trivia nights, board game tournaments, and beer and wine tastings also will be held in the mezzanine space.
Foodservice in the Huntersville Lowes Foods will offer made-to-order, ready-to-eat, heat-and-eat and grab-and-go options in a food hall presentation, with an in-store chef overseeing the culinary experience, the grocer said.
“We are particularly excited about the concept for our new Huntersville store. It’s been described as our small format but, in reality, it’s so much more,” Lowes Foods President Tim Lowe said in a statement. “It has been in the planning and design stages for some time and will be the first of its kind that will have a focus on entertainment while at the same time offering a seamless shopping experience.”
Prepared food and beverages shops, from the Lowes Foods Originals brand roster, will include the following:
• The Chicken Kitchen, serving “all things chicken,” such as rotisserie chicken, fried chicken, chicken wings, chicken pot pies, chicken tenders, chicken salad and Cock-a-Doodle Noodle soup. Lowes said all items use fresh, locally sourced chicken that is antibiotics-free.
• The Smokehouse, offering a daily rotation of wood-smoked meats like beef, pork chicken and salmon. The meat is smoked using variety of woods to infuse flavor, according to Lowes. Items can be purchased ready to eat or brought home and heated up.
• The Beer Den, featuring a selection of draft and craft beer that shoppers can drink in-store or take home in a growler (bottle) or crowler (can). The space also will showcase seasonal beer offerings and feature special events and “tap takeovers.”
• Pick & Prep, where shoppers can get fresh-cut packaged, grab-and-go fruit and vegetables throughout the day. Customers also can request custom cuts, as Pick & Prep chefs will slice, dice, mince or cube produce while they shop.
• Sammy’s, a day-round destination serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as sandwiches and salads. Shoppers can have items custom-made using Boar’s Head meat and cheese, Smokehouse pulled pork, or Pick & Prep fruit and vegetables. Customers can eat their food in-store or take it home or back to work, Lowes noted.
• The Cakery, a fresh bakery offering “Scrumptiouslyumptiously” square cakes in a range sizes, topped with icing made fresh in-store with real cream and butter, the retailer said.
• The Boxcar Coffee & Chocolate Co., a cafe with an in-store roaster that offers Boxcar-brand coffee and other hot beverages plus store-made chocolate barks.
• SausageWorks, serving up house-made pork, beef and poultry sausages in an array of flavors and combinations.
• Bread Crumb, a fresh-baked bread station with everything from traditional sourdough breads and baguettes to sweet breads and savory focaccias, according to Lowes.
• Divine Cut, offering Certified Angus Beef served by high-end steak houses, the grocer said. Shoppers can choose from a selection of dry-aged steaks and have them custom-cut.
Lowes said the Huntersville store will offer frictionless shopping, enabling customers to order and pay for meals, beverages, dessert or other foods at each touchpoint. For example, if a shopper orders coffee from the Boxcar, a breakfast sandwich from Sammy’s and fresh fruit from Pick & Prep, the items are prepared and gathered for the shopper. Customers also will be able to order everything online for in-store or curbside pickup.
“We’ve been successful at our other stores in the Carolinas for several years by helping bring community back to the table in a variety of ways. This store is the next step in the Lowes Foods brand transformation from typical supermarket to differentiated store to now a community hub,” Lowe explained. “The Huntersville store is designed to serve a variety of needs for our guests. It will be the place for a morning coffee, family dinner on the go, beer with a friend or picking up groceries curbside.”
A subsidiary of grocery distributor Alex Lee, Lowes Foods operates 80 full-service supermarkets in North and South Carolina. Last week, Lowes opened a new 49,000-square-foot store in Hanahan, S.C., and the company plans to open a 47,000-square-foot location in West Ashley, S.C., on Aug. 12. Both are converted Bi-Lo supermarkets acquired from Southeastern Grocers.