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Lowes expands further to South Carolina

Lexington unit opens this week; taking over former Bi-Lo in Columbia

Lowes Foods’ expansion into South Carolina continues this week with the planned opening of the first of two new stores in Lexington, S.C., and news that it will take over the site of a former Bi-Lo store in nearby Columbia with eyes on opening there in 2018.

Lowes, a subsidiary of Hickory, N.C.-based distributor Alex Lee, is positioning itself as a local Carolinas grocer amid an invasion of competitors to the Southeast including Lidl, Publix, Sprouts and Wegmans.

The Lexington store officially opens with a ribbon-cutting event this Thursday. A fuel center at the site opened last week.

The Columbia store, which would be Lowes’ third in the city, is at the site of a former Bi-Lo closed by parent Southeastern Grocers in October. Lowes also is constructing a new store in Lexington set to open this summer, and has plans for additional South Carolina locations in Summerville and Mount Pleasant.

“The Columbia market is an important part of our company’s overall strategy to remodel existing stores and build new ones,” Lowes Foods President Tim Lowe said in a statement. “During the construction phase of our two Lexington stores, we have received an incredible welcome to the Columbia area and are very excited to extend Lowes Foods’ unique grocery shopping experience to our new friends.”

The new Lexington location will include special concepts called “Lowes Foods Originals,” including a “community table” constructed of reclaimed barn wood, where shoppers can gather to sample and gain inspiration from new kinds of foods, the company said.

Other highlights of the new store include a Beer Den with a bar for draft beers and growlers for purchase; store-made sausages under the SausageWorks name; wood-smoked meats; a whimsical cake bakery known as the Cakery; and take-out foods including store-made meats at Sammy’s.

Fruit and vegetable butchers can also custom cut produce offerings at a “Pick & Prep” counter. The store is also offering online shopping with drive-thru pickup.

Lowes operates nearly 100 full-service supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

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