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Weis begins Food Lion conversions

Weis Markets will reopen the first five of its 38 recently acquired Food Lion stores under the Weis Markets banner this week as part of a plan to rebanner all of the locations by the end of next month.

Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis bought the stores, located in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, this summer when they were divested to satisfy antitrust concerns in the merger of former owner Delhaize Group and Ahold.

“Once the conversions are completed over the next two months, we will have nearly doubled our Maryland store count and expanded into Virginia and Delaware,” Kurt Schertle, Weis Markets’ COO said in a statement. “Our goal is to build on our advantages as a locally focused retailer that offers a strong combination of quality, value and service. As part of this commitment, we plan to expand variety in every department.”

Weis said it was planning to hire more than 2,000 current Food Lion employees. “We are reaching out to the Food Lion associates who work in these stores and look forward to hiring and ultimately welcoming them to our company,” Schertle said. “It’s an exciting time for our company as we grow and expand into new territories, and we’re grateful to our associates and loyal customers for their continued support.”

This week, Weis Markets will convert Food Lion units in Cumberland, Frostburg, Owings Mill, Eldersburg and Reisterstown, Md., and will reopen them on Friday. It will convert Food Lion units in Columbia, Elkridge, Gaithersburg (two stores) and Mitchellville, Md., with plans to reopen them on Sept. 23. Weis said it planned to close and reopen each location for less than a week to complete the transformations.

The newly converted stores will offer a variety of local products in addition to more than 3,000 Weis private label items, the company said.

The Food Lion deal was the second acquisition of the year for Weis. In August it completed the conversion of five former Mars Super Markets in Baltimore County, Md. Once the deals are complete, Weis will have increased the number of its operating stores by more than 25% and will operate 204 stores in seven states.

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