Food Lion: A Neighbor to Count On

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Copyright © 2017 Food Lion, LLC All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopy, information retrieval systems, or otherwise without written permission from Food Lion. Compiled by: Courtney James, Food Lion Christy Phillips-Brown, Food Lion Pressley Peters, Ketchum Photography provided by: Cheryl Foster, Open Road Productions Linda Ketner Jimmy McDonald, Jimmy McDonald Photography H.K. “Hap” Roberts Salisbury Post Kathy Salter, Daly & Salter Photography Pam Snyder, Snyder Photography Harry Taylor, Harry Taylor Photography Design by Tim Kendra-Dill, Food Lion Printed on recycled paper by Classic Graphics, Charlotte, N.C. Library of Congress Control Number: 2017914351 Food Lion, LLC 2110 Executive Drive Salisbury, NC 28147 Food Lion is a registered trademark of DZA Brands, LLC.

A Neighbor to Count On is dedicated to the Food Lion associates of yesterday, today and tomorrow. You bring our brand to life every day by making sure our customers can always count on you and by caring for all of those around you. Your dedication and loyalty to Food Lion is paramount to our success and we thank you for helping us continue to nourish our communities for many years to come.

At the first Food Town grand opening in December 1957, associates gave away hostess aprons to the first 5,000 customers and free pencils, lollipops and balloons to children. Wrist watches, portable radios, coffee makers, silverware, $10 food certificates and other items were given as prizes. 4







The Legacy of Our Founders — 1957–1985


Continuing the Vision — 1986-2000


"The Lion Wakes" — 2001-2013


Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day! — 2014-2017


Timeline — 1957-2017










Count on me




Food Lion Feeds


Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation


We Are the Towns and Cities We Serve


Lion’s Pride Foundation








Meg Ham, President of Food Lion

Food Lion President Meg Ham, alongside Food Lion leaders and associates, packs bags of food at the 2015 annual leadership conference in honor of the first annual Food Lion Feeds’ The Great Pantry Makeover.

FROM THE PRESIDENT Happy anniversary and thank you to everyone who has joined us in nourishing our communities for 60 years! We're honored to celebrate our long history and strong heritage as we continue to be a proud partner in each of the towns and cities we serve. In 1957, we planted our roots in Salisbury, N.C. Ralph Ketner, our first CEO, blazed trails that revolutionized the grocery industry. The reason we are still winning in the marketplace today is a testament to him, his co-founders, Brown Ketner and Wilson Smith, and their combined tenacity and care. Today, Food Lion works to build on the path they created by being a company grounded in always putting our customers first, having fresh products at an affordable price and caring for our communities. For 60 years, Food Lion has consistently leveraged our low price heritage so customers can nourish their families with fresh and affordable food. In fact, we know many of our customers make tough choices every day. We make those choices easier because people can afford to eat healthy by shopping at Food Lion. That is what inspires us. And, by offering a friendly smile, we can change the entire shopping experience. We have that opportunity thousands of times each day. I am deeply appreciative of the passion and dedication of our loyal associates, many of whom have been here with us for decades. I love the people of Food Lion, our heart and our down-to-earth, humble spirit. I love our "Count on me" attitude. Serving the people of this organization, who support each other and our customers every day, is priceless to me. This book is dedicated to each of you: those who share in doing what you love, those who work tirelessly to bring joy and nourishment into the lives of others and those who care to be a helping neighbor in our communities. With appreciation,

Meg Ham President











North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina, South Carolina

Store 1 opened in Ketner Center, Salisbury, N.C.

Ralph Ketner called the first 10 years of business “research and development.”

Food Lion, then Food Town, expanded into South Carolina.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware and Florida Following extreme growth and a name change to Food Lion, the company now conducted business in eight states.


1,157 STORES

1,134 STORES

1,031 STORES




North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia

Food Lion opened stores and later ceased operations during the years of 1991 - 1993 in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Food Lion continued to focus on growth and operations in 11 states.

Food Lion repositioned for future growth. In January 2012, Food Lion streamlined operations to focus on core markets by closing 113 underperforming stores, including all stores in Florida. In 2014, Food Lion unveiled "Easy, Fresh and Affordable... You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" The new brand strategy, which includes being recognized as a price leader, makes Food Lion stores easier to shop and offers the greatest value across the store, including natural and organic selections. As of October 2017, Food Lion refreshed and remodeled more than half of its stores in six markets including Richmond, Va., Greensboro, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., Wilmington, N.C., and Greenville, N.C., making them easy to shop, easy to save and easy to figure out what's for dinner for customers. Food Lion will continue to make customer-centric enhancements across all stores and remodel additional stores in each of its markets.




60 Years in the Making


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

GROCERY HERITAGE IS DECADES IN THE MAKING Brown and Ralph Ketner were born into the business of food. Their father’s career spanned farmer, butcher and grocer. By the time Ralph was nine in 1929, he delivered meat orders by bicycle. The Great Depression was just beginning to take hold of America. He said of the time, “under those conditions you get street smarts, which is not the same as the education you get in high school and college, but it’s the education you badly need and can use.” As teenagers, Brown and Ralph worked together for their older brother Glenn in his grocery store, named Ketner’s. After serving in World War II in Africa and Italy, Ralph returned to North Carolina and worked at several jobs, including serving as a buyer for his brother’s store. He set precedents in this role by being the first buyer to ask for and receive a cash discount on the gross amount of every shipment from the manufacturer. In 1956, Ketner’s was acquired by Florida-based Winn-Dixie. The three brothers worked for Winn-Dixie immediately after the buyout, but their stay was short-lived as Food Town was soon to be born.

Ralph Ketner in front of his brother Glenn’s store in Kannapolis, N.C., 1934. Photo Courtesy of the Ketner Family and Open Road Productions.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

FOOD TOWN WAS COMMUNITY BORN Glenn Ketner went into real estate and built one of the first shopping centers in the Salisbury, N.C., area, which he named Ketner Center. Wilson Smith, who had worked in the grocery industry since he delivered groceries by wagon at age eight, and much of that time with the Ketners, left Winn-Dixie to join Brown and Ralph on their new adventure to start a grocery store. Their supermarket would be the anchor store in Ketner Center. The three men cold-called local citizens to offer shares of the company for $10 each. Ralph Ketner remembered the time: “The three of us didn’t have enough money to start the company. We spent three days and nights going through the telephone book A to Z, literally one by one. We had 250 people we thought would invest $50 to $1,000, and that’s how we raised the money." The Salisbury community answered positively to their pleas to buy shares at $10 a piece. With 122 initial investors contributing $67,500, along with their own personal investments, the three men amassed $125,000. Food Town was born. The first store opened on Dec. 12, 1957. Food Town was one of the largest supermarkets in the area with a sales floor of more than 15,000 square feet in Ketner Center.

Food Town, Monroe, N.C., 1960. Photo courtesy of Open Road Productions.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

Ralph Ketner

Brown Ketner

Wilson Smith

Ketner brothers. Pictured (L to R) Ralph (top left at age 16), Brown, Glenn and Ray. Photo courtesy of the Salisbury Post and Open Road Productions.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

CUSTOMER FOCUS KEPT FOOD TOWN AFLOAT When the first store opened on a cold December day, Food Town ran an ad that claimed: “It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s bountiful. Salisbury’s newest, largest and most modern food store. More than 100 years’ experience behind the management of Food Town stores.” Ralph Ketner was the president of the company, purchased the groceries and set the prices. Brown Ketner merchandised the meat. Wilson Smith spent his time in advertising, which mainly consisted of store signage and newspaper ads. A price war ensued immediately with other local grocers. Marketing programs, such as “buy one get one free,” customer loyalty cards and selling gasoline at cost to Food Town customers were implemented. For more than 10 years, Food Town sent 10 flower vases a day to patients at Rowan Memorial Hospital, including new mothers. The stores gave away cars, TV sets and silver dollars. Even so, the company suffered six months of heavy losses. In fact, Food Town’s first 10 years were more about survival than success.

I call the first 10 years we were in business R&D - research and development - a fancy way of saying we were starving to death, said Ralph Ketner. Through the opening of 16 stores and the closing of nine, the company ended its first decade in 1967 with a network of seven stores amassing sales of $5.9 million and an annual profit of $35,000.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

DEDICATION TO ASSOCIATES STARTED EARLY Despite the struggle to stay profitable in the early years, Mr. Ketner stayed loyal to the idea of putting the customers first but also taking care of the company's associates. Every Food Town employee received a 32-page employee handbook that started and ended with a letter from him. It outlined expectations of employees and Food Town’s pledge back to them, including the profit sharing plan and the commitment to give an annual bonus to every employee if profits allowed.

Two Food Town employee handbook excerpts illustrate company pride and dedication to the customer.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

UNUSUAL SLOGAN PAYS OFF In the late 1960s, food prices began to rise in the United States. Mr. Ketner took advantage of an idea a fellow grocer shared with him that involved aggressively cutting prices and relying on volume to make a profit. Mr. Ketner liked the idea of making Food Town the undisputed price leader in the grocery business with stiff competition from companies such as A&P, Winn-Dixie, Harris Teeter and a number of “mom and pop” stores. In late 1967, Mr. Ketner shut himself in a room at the Manger Motor Inn in Charlotte, N.C., for three days. With six months of invoices and an adding machine, he slashed prices on 3,000 items, each by 10 percent. His idea was that even with below-profit prices, if sales volume increased by 50 percent, Food Town would be profitable. If it did not work, the company would likely go out of business. In other words, Mr. Ketner bet the company on the idea. In early 1968, Food Town launched a marketing campaign centered on the slogan “Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina” or “LFPINC.” The campaign was so successful, car owners in North Carolina proudly displayed the LFPINC slogan on their bumpers.

Mr. Ketner sequestered himself in the Manger Motor Inn to determine the strategy that became “LFPINC.” 20

Photo courtesy of William Bird Postcard Collection.

Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

INCREASED VOLUME ALLOWS PRICE REDUCTION Mr. Ketner invented the idea of bulk purchasing at a cheaper price point to pass the savings along to the customer. Food Lion was also known to be extremely frugal and efficient in its operations. The executives did not fly first class. The offices were not finely decorated. In an industry where the cost of doing business was around 21 percent, Food Lion operated at closer to 14 percent. He was known to say, “You can sell for less if you buy for less and operate for less.� Food Town operated under the principles of cost leadership and bulk buying for much of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Food Town purchased huge amounts of certain items when they were exceptionally cheap, especially products it knew customers wanted. This forward-buying allowed cost reductions to be reinvested in lower prices, which stimulated sales, further allowing the company to finance the forward-buying strategy.

Food Town Store 4 in Salisbury, N.C.

Original Food Town Store 1 in Ketner Center, Salisbury, N.C.

1977 Annual Report

Original signage for the Food Town corporate offices and grocery warehouse; currently site of Corporate Support Center Executive Drive offices and Distribution Center 10 (DC10)


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

DELHAIZE “LE LION” INVESTS Brown Ketner left the company in 1964 and by 1970, the Food Town management team included Ralph Ketner, Wilson Smith and Tom E. Smith. On Nov. 19, 1970, Food Town shares were listed on the over-thecounter system of NASDAQ. Tom Smith returned to Food Town from Del Monte after Ralph Ketner enticed him to come back. Smith previously served as a Food Town bagger and store manager, and Mr. Ketner recalled his good work. When Ketner requested Smith come back as a buyer in 1970, he offered Smith the firstever stock option and also suggested to Smith that he would be the next president of Food Town. Several years later, in 1974, Delhaize “Le Lion,” an expanding Belgian grocery company with history dating back to 1867, offered to invest in Food Town. Despite the competitive nature of the grocery business in the region, Delhaize was attracted to Food Town’s industry-leading profitability, high return on investment, fast growth rate and debt-free balance sheet. Mr. Ketner remained uninterested until the Belgian company agreed to his 31 stipulations, including leaving the management of the company to the United States leadership team. The deal was sealed on Oct. 23, 1974. Delhaize “Le Lion” acquired 34.5 percent of Food Town stores at $26 per share. Mr. Ketner, Wilson Smith and Tom Smith remained in place and Food Town continued to be managed autonomously by its local team. Food Town added a lion to its logo in 1977.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

EXPANDING ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST AND BEYOND The 1980s were a period of rapid growth for the company. Food Town, which by this time had changed its name to Food Lion, crossed the borders to neighboring states of South Carolina and Virginia. The expansion continued through the decade and into the early 1990s as Food Lion gained a presence in Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas. The company added approximately 100 supermarkets per year during this period.

Dramatically low prices and modern, clean stores, combined with demographic expansion, resulted in Food Lion grabbing market share from traditional supermarkets. Food Lion was committed to the compact size of its stores, conveniently located in neighborhoods with the strategy that smaller, convenient stores are better than one difficult-to-reach superstore.

Pictured (L to R): Alice Beddingfield, N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Community Development Division Director; E.C. Edgerton, Jr.; Claude E. Pope, N.C. Commerce Secretary; Tom E. Smith, Food Lion President; Delmon Williamson, Harnett County Development Commission Chairman; Oscar Harris, Dunn Area Chamber of Commerce President; Lloyd Stewart, Harnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman.

Food Lion erected a marker outside its Store 1 at Ketner Center in 1990. Pictured (L to R): Vince Watkins, Vice President of Special Projects, Glenn Ketner Jr., Ralph Ketner, Brown Ketner, Tom Smith and Wilson Smith. Photo courtesy of the Salisbury Post.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

1983 Food Town Stores, Inc. Annual Report Pictured (L to R): Guy Beckers, Jacques LeClercq, Tom Smith, Wilson Smith, Ralph Ketner, Tom Caddell, Gui de Vaucleroy


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

THE “DARLING OF WALL STREET” Food Town’s speedy expansion was particularly remarkable when compared to competitors’ performance during a recession, in the early 1980s when incomes were dropping and unemployment was going up. In 1982, Food Town was the “fastest growing food chain in America,” according to Forbes magazine. The revised strategy of lowest food prices continued to work. Food Town’s rapid expansion and high profitability made it an attractive investment and the share price grew.

…Certainly there’s never been a business story quite that remarkable, to go from seven to 1,012 stores in 25 years. Robert Ketner, son of Ralph Ketner. As the country’s economy improved in the late 1980s, Food Lion’s success was extraordinary. Between 1980 and 1991, the company's workforce multiplied 10 times over and sales grew from $43.9 million to $6.4 billion. One share purchased in 1973 at $33.75 was worth $8,140.50 in 1991. In addition, shareholders enjoyed a high dividend. In the 1980s, Salisbury, N.C., had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States.

On April 26, 2001, Delhaize Group, with controlling interest in Delhaize America/Food Lion, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Pictured (L to R): New York Stock Exchange Representative, Pierre-Olivier Beckers, Chairman of the Delhaize America, Inc. Board of Directors, Jean-Claude Coppieters't Wallant, Member of the Delhaize America, Inc. Board of Directors, Dr. Jacqueline Collamore, Member of the Delhaize America, Inc. Board of Directors and Chairman of the Delhaize America, Inc. Audit Committee, Bill McCanless, President and Chief Executive of Food Lion and Member of the Delhaize America, Inc. Board of Directors, Hugh Farrington, Chief Executive Officer of Hannaford Bros. Co. and Member of the Delhaize America, Inc. Board of Directors.

We were the darling of Wall Street, says H.K. “Hap” Roberts, Food Town’s Controller from 1972 to 1982.

Various headlines from the Salisbury Post illustrate the company’s fast-paced growth in the 1980s.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

PRACTICALITY AND PRIDE IN A TWO-LETTER NAME CHANGE The Food Town name began to hinder its geographical expansion. In 1982, the company had a disagreement with store owners in both Virginia and Tennessee whose stores had the same name. Mr. Ketner came up with a simple fix. The lion was already part of the Food Town logo. A change from “Food Town” to “Food Lion” meant that every store had to buy only two new letters for its canopy sign: the “L” and the “I.” This action was heralded through the company, and remains in its lore, as part of the pride in controlling costs so customers can save. By March 1983, all store signs and 98 private brand products were converted to the Food Lion name. To match its new name and territory, the company also changed its slogan from "LFPINC" to "Extra Low Prices."

Food Town President Tom E. Smith (in suit) helps local sign company workers install the “L” and “I” on the first Food Lion canopy, December 30, 1982. Photo courtesy of the Salisbury Evening Post.


In the 1980s, Food Lion identified 10 characteristics separating the company from its competitors: 1. Do 1,000 things one percent better. 2. The divinity of simplicity. 3. Productivity is paramount. 4. Coddle the customer. 5. People are precious. 6. Guard your gold. 7. Intensify the ink blot. 8. Follow the formula. 9. Expand or expire. 10. The magic in the mundane.

Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

RALPH KETNER (1920-2016) Mr. Ketner retired from Food Lion in 1985, but his strong ethics and unwavering tenacity remain with the company to this day. He summed up the Food Lion culture and work ethic when he said, “I’ve said time and time again. The customer is first, the employee is second, the shareholder’s third and the CEO, me and founders, the last. People ask me, well, Bill Gates is a billionaire, Sam Walton’s a billionaire, Warren Buffett’s a billionaire. You outperformed any and all of them. Are you happy? And I say, well yeah. You’ve got to look in the mirror and say you did what you thought was right.”

The Wal-Mart model or the Costco model is actually very much a derivative of the ideas that Ralph Ketner established. Some of his competitors referred to Mr. Ketner as using his inventories as a weapon, that he was able to attack his competitors in their home markets, like in Florida. And, because they didn’t have the inventories sufficient, they would run out of product while they were trying to meet his prices, claims Dr. Eric Hake, Professor, Catawba College. He never handed you a book on ethics or a book on character. He never talked about what you do and how you do it. He lived it. Linda Ketner, daughter.

Everyone respected Mr. Ketner. Everyone respected his point of view. Everyone respected his thoughts. He absolutely had a phenomenal understanding of our business and his spirit is alive with us today. Greg Finchum, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, with Food Lion since 1989. Pictured (L to R): Mr. Ketner, Rhonda Mauldin, Store 2212 Store Manager, Meg Ham, President and Greg Finchum, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Store Manager of the Year Awards in Food Lion Founder’s Hall, 2014. 27


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

President Tom E. Smith Photo courtesy of the Salisbury Post.

GROWTH IN THE 1980S As promised by Mr. Ketner in 1971, Tom E. Smith became president in 1981 and later, CEO, in 1986. Smith first worked for Food Town as a bagger in 1957 when he was a junior in high school. Smith steered Food Lion on an unwavering course, stressing low prices and efficient service. He had a willingness to work hard and to listen to customers. Smith made an effort to personally read and respond to customer mail and was well known for his television ads. The company topped the $2 billion sales mark at the end of Smith’s first year as president and dominated the supermarket business in its operating regions into the late 1980s. In 1987, Food Lion prepared to extend its territory into Florida, one of the fastest growing states in the nation at the time. After nine months of advertising proclaiming "when we save, you save," three Food Lion stores opened in Jacksonville, Fla., to big crowds. Security guards had to be hired to help form orderly lines at cash registers. By the end of the year, Food Lion had plans for 20 more stores and a distribution center of 1 million square feet in Florida. 29

Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

CHALLENGES IN THE 1990S In 1990 alone, Food Lion opened 20 more stores, while sales hit $5.6 billion (beating Smith's goal of $5 billion set five years earlier). Earnings of $172.6 million for the year equated to a 3.1 percent margin, tripling the industry average. Smith chose to expand to Texas as the market appeared vulnerable to a low-price operator. Food prices there averaged 15 to 20 percent higher than Food Lion's and there was not an abundance of neighborhood stores. By the fall of 1991, Food Lion had opened 41 stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Food Lion was the nation's fastest-growing supermarket chain. In November 1992, Food Lion faced several challenges, including a story that landed on ABC’s PrimeTime Live alleging unsanitary practices and food safety issues, which resulted in negative publicity. To further compound these issues, competitors such as Wal-Mart entered the Food Lion marketplace during the same decade. As a result, Food Lion closed 84 stores in Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma in 1994 due to underperformance.


The '90s were a time of survival for Food Lion. I remember PrimeTime Live airing like it was yesterday. It was obvious that there was some fabrication. It could have been any of us in the industry, really. What I respect about Food Lion is that even in forced retrenching, Food Lion still upheld a spirit of resilience. Today we can take special pride that we are winning in the marketplace. Winning is part of who we are. Meg Ham, Food Lion President.

Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

A NEW CENTURY AWAITS Food Lion worked to regain customer confidence in the quality of Food Lion products by offering money-back guarantees. The number of planned new stores was scaled back in favor of remodeling existing stores, many with the addition of a deli and bakery. In 1994, 65 stores were remodeled, and in 1995, 121 stores. Food Lion opened 47 new stores in 1995, nearly half of the growth of the previous decade. Food Lion turned its focus on its customer base, renovating existing stores and corporate facilities and upgrading technology. Tom E. Smith retired from his role as President and CEO in 1999. There was a renewed sense of energy and focus within Food Lion as the world approached a new century. Food Lion brought new products and operations such as an international food section and self-scanning checkout machines to select stores. Food Lion launched its MVP loyalty program, offering discounts on items at checkout as a reward for shopping at Food Lion. Within three years of launch, the MVP program had 3 million active households. Today, Food Lion's MVP program has more than 10 million active households.

We know what it takes to get through tough times and stay together. It’s the power of teamwork and the courage of one. I don’t know of a better group in a crisis than a Food Lion team. Our people are always willing to make a difference. It makes me proud. J.J. Fleeman, Chief Strategy Officer, with Delhaize America and Food Lion since 1990.


"THE LION WAKES" 2001-2013

Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

RESEARCH LENDS NEW STRATEGY Rick Anicetti, formerly of the Hannaford chain, became Food Lion’s COO in August 2000, president in September 2001 and eventually CEO in August 2002. During this time, Food Lion continued to experiment with new formats, opening in-store pharmacies and remodeling stores. In 2004 and 2005, the company expanded in North Carolina, opening Bloom, a new store concept in Charlotte, and Bottom Dollar Food in High Point. Food Lion was now part of a bigger organization and was prospering. In 2004, Food Lion unleashed a new brand strategy highlighted by renewing stores in select markets. New signage and displays, fresh produce and meat, friendly and well-trained associates, and a dedication to being neighborly, practical and dependable got the attention of local communities. On Dec. 1, 2004, Progressive Grocer published a cover story entitled “The Lion Wakes.” The article outlined Food Lion’s transformation “from a ‘one-trick pony’” to “a progressive operator willing not only to make a statement with freshness and friendliness, but also to experiment with revolutionary retailing." By the end of the decade, however, with United States financial markets collapsing, Food Lion, along with the rest of the grocery industry, lived through a time where change was ever-present. Many customers were forced to make lifestyle changes. Economic challenges created opportunity for repositioning. In 2010, Food Lion conducted extensive research among more than 3,000 customers and found the brand needed to regain its low-price heritage. Food Lion developed a new strategy: “Simple, Quality and Price… Welcome Back to Food Lion.” The back-to-roots strategy enhanced customer satisfaction through price, fresh products, an easy shopping experience and convenient locations. Consumers responded positively.

At Food Lion, we are striving to build greater loyalty with our customers through creating an emotional connection. We have a passion for understanding "her" needs and offering personalized rewards and communication based on knowing her. We want to be her neighbor, not just a store in the neighborhood. That's the beauty of this brand. We ARE the towns and cities we serve. Deborah Sabo, Vice President, Marketing, with Food Lion since 2016.



Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

IT ALL STARTED WITH AN EGG. Food Lion leaders took notice when a customer, who had tried to return a single egg to the store, sent the company a letter. A store associate had told the customer that she needed a receipt for any return and, in addition, the store had no policy for replacing one broken egg. Senior management examined internal policies and came to a conclusion. They wanted to be the type of company where associates would be willing and able to use their own judgment to solve problems like broken eggs. The broken egg and the loyal customer started a cultural transformation within Food Lion that led to the “Count on me� attitude associates carry with them at every level of the company today.


Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

BOLD FUTURE WITH NEW STRATEGY In 2014, Food Lion unveiled a new logo and launched the chain-wide brand strategy "Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!"

We bring ‘Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!’ to life for our customers for essentially every element of our business such as merchandising, assortment, marketing and real estate. Today’s brand has tremendous linkage to our heritage of LFPINC. It’s about how we deliver the best value for our customers every day. Jason Wilson, Vice President of Strategy and Business Planning, with Food Lion since 2000.

Food Lion is on a 60-year path to continual improvement, perpetuated by dedicated associates and loyal customers who appreciate Food Lion’s constant evolution to meet their shopping needs. Food Lion is proud of its heritage but is also forward-looking about making an impact in communities and on associates in a positive way. The company will continue to push forward and innovate in an ever-changing marketplace.

Along with the slogan, Food Lion has made improvements throughout most of its stores with more to come. Improvements feature product assortment expansion including natural and organic, produce, meats and other items, price investments and store remodeling. Food Lion is also testing home grocery delivery and Food Lion To-Go grocery pick up in select markets. Associates rally around the "Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" mantra. Food Lion offers its associates and prospective associates career paths within the business. In fact, Meg Ham was hired from within to become President of Food Lion in 2014. Ham, who originally joined Delhaize America in 1988, held a variety of leadership roles at Bottom Dollar Food, Hannaford and Food Lion.

Meg is doing a phenomenal job serving at the helm of Food Lion, said Frans Muller, Delhaize America acting Chief Operating Officer, ad interim. She has led Food Lion's transformation and continues to deliver on the company’s 'Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!’ strategy. Meg leads by example and drives momentum by focusing on the customer experience and caring for communities.


Old LFPINC - Lowest Food Prices In North Carolina

New Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!

Chapter 1: 60 Years in the Making

RAISING OUR STANDARDS WITHOUT RAISING OUR PRICES… HOW REFRESHING Based on customer insight, Food Lion took a look at its core strategy, all the way back to Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina (LFPINC) and refreshed the strategy to bring it to life for today’s customer. The company committed to evolve along with the needs of its customers, and to empower associates to show care to their customers while providing them with a positive shopping experience. Food Lion embarked on retraining all associates, who spread the customer-centric message organization-wide through the Food Lion family of retail and corporate associates.

We want associates to have the power to make choices. They are good people. They know what to do and they do it with care. Gene Faller, Vice President, Center Store, with Food Lion since 1988. Associates see customers as individuals who put trust in and depend on the Food Lion brand. They care about their customers and help set them up for success in life by offering the best products at affordable prices. Food Lion helps meet a community need by being a neighborhood store people can count on.

There’s continued upside for our brand. We’re constantly finding ways to serve our customers. We’re always looking ahead. Geoff Waldau, Senior Vice President, Merchandising, with Food Lion since 1987.




1968- 1980 Food Town sales grow from $8.5M to $543M.


Brothers Brown and Ralph Ketner, along with Wilson Smith, open the first Food Town on Dec. 12 in Salisbury, N.C. The three raised funds to open the store by going through the local phone book asking for low-dollar investments.

Food Lion acquires Giant Food Markets Inc. of Kingsport, Tenn.

Delhaize “Le Lion” acquires minority ownership of Food Town stores.



Food Town launches new income model with Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina slogan, which became popularly known as LFPINC. From this point forward, volume becomes the key to success.




Food Town changes its name to Food Lion.

Food Lion begins testing new concepts such as larger and smaller store formats.


Food Lion reaches $1 billion in sales.

1994 Food Lion closes 84 stores in Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma due to underperformance.

1971 Salisbury Sunday Post headlined “USD $1 Invested in Food Town in ’57 is Now Worth USD $53.”




Food Lion remodels headquarters in Salisbury, N.C., by adding second floor.

Food Town shares listed on the over-the-counter system of NASDAQ.

1988 Many Food Lion investors become millionaires.

Ralph Ketner locks himself in a motel room for three days with six months of invoices and an adding machine in order to slash prices on 3,000 items by 10 percent. If sales volume increased by 50 percent, Food Town would show a profit. His implementation of the volume concept was a game changer for the grocery industry.



Food Lion named “Fastest growing supermarket chain in America” by Forbes magazine.


2015 Food Lion remodels 162 Raleigh, N.C., area stores.

2011 Food Lion improves its store as it gets back to the basics.

2005 Food Lion opens first Bottom Dollar Food stores in High Point, Asheboro and Mt. Airy, N.C.

2017 Food Lion celebrates its 60th Anniversary.




Food Lion launches back-to-roots strategy of "Simple Quality and Price... Welcome Back to Food Lion."

Food Lion acquires nearly 100-store Kash ‘n Karry chain in Florida.

Food Lion remodels 93 Greensboro, N.C., area stores and 71 Richmond, Va., area stores.

2013 Food Lion launches new store format in Concord, N.C., including Food Lion’s first walk-in produce cooler.

2004 Progressive Grocer magazine names Food Lion Retailer of the Year.


Food Lion unveils a new logo during its 50th anniversary year.


Food Lion unveiled its new chain-wide strategy: "Easy, Fresh and Affordable... You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" and unveils new logo; remodels 76 stores in Wilmington and Greenville, N.C.

2012 Food Lion closes 126 underperforming stores. Some Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food stores converted to Food Lion.

2004 Food Lion opens first Bloom concept store in Charlotte, N.C.


2016 Food Lion remodels 142 Charlotte, N.C., area stores.

Food Lion leaders and associates set GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for "Most bagged lunches assembled in one hour;" donates all 10,320 lunches to local food banks and schools in greater Hot Springs, Va., market.

2016 61 Food Lion stores divested as part of Ahold Delhaize merger.


Food Lion Feeds created to focus company's philanthropic efforts solely on hunger relief. Company commits to donating 500 million meals by 2020.




Care Through the Years

Inside Food Lion in 2017.

Chapter 2: Care Through the Years

EASY For 60 years, Food Lion has focused on making shopping easy. When the first Food Town stores opened in 1957, stores were kept plain and simple in order to help local customers put food on their tables. During that time, stores opened with cash registers that figured sales tax and change. This was a big improvement from the days when grocery store clerks hand-tallied receipts. In the earliest days, Food Lion offered customers the same store layout and same prices in every store. This simplicity allowed the opening of 100 stores per year. Convenience in the late 1980s meant two express lanes for customers, plenty of cashiers with computers and scanners and baggers ready to serve customers. Computers helped with everything from checkout to inventory, to speeding the time a customer spends in-store and ensuring the products they desire are on the shelf. Later, computer-assisted ordering translated into perpetual inventory in stores, which allowed Food Lion to meet the daily needs of its shoppers. While at the time it was revolutionary, easy is still at the core of what Food Lion does every day.

Inside Food Lion in the 1980s. Photo courtesy of the Salisbury Post and Open Road Productions.

Today, life can get complicated. And the more complicated it gets, the more Food Lion strives to look for ways to make life easier for its customers. Food Lion believes shoppers shouldn’t have to drive all over town, going to one store for fresh meat, someplace else when they need a quick gallon of milk and yet another store to complete the shopping list. Modern day Food Lion stores feature easy-to-navigate aisles, expanded assortment across all departments with items neatly organized to enable an easy-to-shop experience, along with conveniences such as grab-and-go meals and daily meal solutions. Friendly associates ensure each customer is greeted with a "Count on me" attitude. And, customers no longer have to depend on written shopping lists or clipping coupons. Customers can now shop and save more using the Food Lion Mobile App, complete with a digital MVP card, loadable coupons, digital shopping lists which identify items down to the aisle in their particular store and many more features. Additionally, home grocery delivery and grocery pick-up through Food Lion To-Go are other convenient options for busy shoppers being piloted in select markets.

Food Lion introduces "scan, pay, & go" self checkout option in the 21st century.


So, whether it’s in a Food Lion store or bringing the store to customers digitally, Food Lion is committed to ensuring fresh, quality and affordable groceries, how and when shoppers want them.


Chapter 2: Care Through the Years

FRESH Food Lion has always prided itself on listening to customers and offering what they want: fresh, quality products at affordable prices. When new trends or products come into the marketplace, Food Lion is there. For example, Food Lion was there when customers asked for more natural and organic products, and has even rolled out a total store Local Goodness campaign celebrating products grown or manufactured throughout local regions. Food Lion has added an abundant selection of fresh meat, produce and baked goods backed by its Food Lion promise, a double-your-money-back guarantee. Some stores even feature walk-in garden coolers to house produce in order to keep it fresher, longer. Additionally, Food Lion continues to keep pace with the growing trend for natural and organic products and ingredients. Through its private brand product line, Nature’s Place, Food Lion has more than 400 natural and organic items, expanding its fresh selections of Nature's Place beef, pork, poultry, salads and bakery items. In remodeled markets, customers can find entire sections dedicated to these products in both fresh and center store. Each item in the Nature's Place product line carries a "Free From" statement on the front of the package highlighting the ingredients absent from the formulation. Grounded in goodness, every product is free from more than 100 artificial colors, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and additives making them safe for consumers with allergies, food intolerance or those shopping for healthier options.

It’s hard to believe I have been part of the Food Lion family for half of the company’s lifetime and more than half of my own. In that time, we have made tremendous progress around the idea of fresh. ‘Fresh’ is one of those words that can mean many things. Broccoli is fresh, but so are fresh ideas, the fresh look in our stores and our fresh assortment. Geoff Waldau, Senior Vice President, Merchandising, with Food Lion since 1987.


Chapter 2: Care Through the Years

AFFORDABLE Food Lion has a long-standing heritage of low prices. From its very beginning, the company worked to offer the best price to the customer and to compete mightily over price with competitors. As Mr. Ketner used to say, "When we save, you save.” When Mr. Ketner kicked off LFPINC back in 1968, the Salisbury Evening Post ad read: “There will be no need to wait for weekend specials because Food Town’s thousands of specials, more than 3,000, will be in effect six days a week. In many instances, the price you pay will be at wholesale cost or less.”

Tom Smith touting Food Lion did not have special sales. “Don’t make plans to attend Food Lion’s 34th anniversary sale. We’re not having one. We’re not having a Fourth of July sale. Or a Labor Day sale, either. Matter of fact, at Food Lion, we never have a sale. That’s because these customers want extra low prices on all their groceries every day of the year.” A passion for saving customers money is still at the core of what Food Lion does every day. Not only does the company promise fresh, quality products, but works to provide them at affordable prices to help customers nourish their families.

According to the book Lion’s Share, a 1991 script for a Food Lion television advertisement had CEO


Chapter 2: Care Through the Years

COUNT ON ME 'Count on me’ is a great phrase for many reasons. I live it professionally and personally. I want to be dependable. I want people to know I have their back. I want the business to know it, too. ‘Count on me’ is a new way of saying what we all know as the Mr. Ketner attitude. It’s what brought us early explosive growth, it allowed us to refocus when storms came, and allows us to bring our ‘Easy, Fresh, and Affordable... You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!’ strategy to our customers today. Kim Lyda, Vice President of Legal Affairs, with Food Lion since 2001. Food Lion is a family. It’s not just about the job. For retail associates especially, it’s the connections with customers that grow the Food Lion family. Such a culture of dedication and teamwork combined with a competitive benefits package and people who care has always made Food Lion a great place to work. From the days when Mr. Ketner would hand-deliver holiday bonuses, to present day associate incentives, Food Lion has illustrated its appreciation to associates. Many employees have significant tenure.

I try my best to smile each and every day and make sure I pass on the 'Count on me' spirit to my customers and fellow associates. Penny Williams, Customer Service Manager, with Food Lion since 1996.

Food Lion was rated “Best Place to Work” by the Human Rights Campaign in 2015 and 2016. As of 2017, Food Lion employs more than 63,000 associates in 10 states.

Tom Smith, former president and CEO, as quoted in Lion’s Share, said of hiring associates in the 1970s, They would have to be ambitious, they would have to be hard-working, because of the amount of work it takes to grow a company like we wanted. And we knew they would have to be the type of people that could work as a team because, in a growth company, it is mandatory. I started working at Food Lion in high school and what I love about this company is we've always put both the customers and associates first. 'Count on me' empowers associates to do the right thing, always. In my role, I've seen how we've used this passion to serve the customer to make digital enhancements and improve customer personalization to make shopping easier. Keith Nicks, Vice President of Customer Engagement, with Food Lion and Delhaize America since 1990 46

Internally, I like 'Count on me.' It gives each associate the opportunity to do what’s right for the business. Kathy Wiley, Marketing Traffic Manager, with Food Lion since 2007.

Chapter 2: Care Through the Years

I am there for my team. That’s what our 'Count on me' culture is all about. I care. I wouldn’t trade working for Food Lion for anything. Angela BeverlyKibler, Associate Relations Manager, Retail Business Services, with Food Lion since 2003

I started as a bagger. It’s such an honor to be in the role I’m in today. Food Lion is the only company I’ve ever worked for. I really appreciate that Food Lion is a merit-based company. Matt Nereim, Director of Finance, with Food Lion since 1992.

When Food Town started, it was all about the customer connections. We still take care of them, one customer at a time. It’s called the 'Count on me' behavior now. Patricia Ebright, Store Manager, Store 1, with Food Lion since 2001.

'Count on me' is a cultural movement and we plan to stick to it. Within the Food Lion journey, 'Count on me' is the real silver bullet for us. Leslie Atkinson, Director of Brand Communications, with Food Lion since 2003. 47



Nourishing Our Communities Together

Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

FOOD LION FEEDS — OUR COMMITMENT Food Lion has a deep-rooted heritage in being a strong philanthropic partner, which dates back to its roots in Salisbury, N.C., when Mr. Ketner helped establish the first local food pantry, Rowan Helping Ministries. Food Lion's associates often say “we are the towns and cities we serve,” which is evident in the care they show for their neighbors. Food Lion understands many people in the communities it serves struggle with hunger every day. That's why, in 2014, Food Lion Feeds was created. Through Food Lion Feeds, Food Lion is working to create a better tomorrow by uniting with customers and partners to eliminate the choices families are forced to make when they are hungry. The company has pledged to donate 500 million meals by 2020 to families in need in its local communities.

At Food Lion, we are passionate about helping to feed our neighbors in need so no one has to choose between dinner and rent or gas and groceries. It's this passion that led to the creation of Food Lion Feeds, which helps nourish our communities. I'm extremely proud of the commitment our associates have made to care and feed the towns and cities we serve every day. Christy Phillips-Brown, Director, External Communications and Community Relations, with Food Lion since 2009.


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

FOOD LION FEEDS — HOW WE CARE Food Lion Feeds is committed to helping feed its neighbors in need, but to accomplish this is no easy feat. Through its philanthropic platform, the organization is focused on nourishing those in need with meal donations through partnerships with Feeding America and 30 of its member food banks. To be successful, Food Lion Feeds requires great partnerships not only from the 30 food banks and thousands of partner food agencies, but also from its loyal customers and dedicated associates.

Food Lion Feeds renovated more than 30 food pantries in 30 days across 10 states, and the effort has grown consistently year over year. This program, which is part of Feeding America's Hunger Action Month™ also serves as the company's annual associate volunteer month. This year, Food Lion Feeds will remodel more than 60 pantries in honor of its 60th anniversary.

Nourishing Our Communities Every day, Food Lion Feeds works to alleviate hunger in the communities it serves. By partnering with local food banks and feeding agencies across its 10-state footprint, millions of meals are provided to many who would otherwise go without. Whether it is stocking the shelves so hungry families can get what they need to feed their families, or hosting local community donation events or sponsoring mobile food pantries to reach those who cannot get to the food, Food Lion Feeds is there.

Food Lion has set the standard for how other retailers can partner with food banks. Brittany DeRose, Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships, Feeding America.

I just love it. I love having the comfort of knowing that if I don’t have food at home, there’s someone out there that’s willing to help. Lashaun Singletary, The Great Pantry Makeover donation recipient.

Food Lion Feeds: The Great Pantry Makeover Feeding agencies spend every spare cent they have on feeding their neighbors battling hunger, which means they do not always have the resources necessary for structural improvements which would increase their capacity and functionality. Understanding this, Food Lion Feeds launched "The Great Pantry Makeover" in 2015, bringing Food Lion associates to local feeding agencies to donate and install everything from shelving, refrigerators and freezers, fresh coats of paint, security upgrades, new flooring and other infrastructure improvements as well as other necessary upgrades. In its inaugural year, 52

Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

Food Rescue at Retail As a grocer committed to fresh products throughout the store while also focused on reducing food waste, Food Lion was one of the pioneers in the grocery industry to implement a food rescue program in its stores. In partnership with Feeding America, every Food Lion store is paired with a local feeding agency, each of which picks up donations at a minimum of twice per week. This program donates more than 100 million meals each year.

donated to Feeding America and local food banks each time a customer purchases one bag of the speciallymarked apple bags. Finally, during the November and December holiday seasons, customers are able to purchase a specially-marked "Holidays Without Hunger" food box for $5 or make a cash donation at checkout. Each campaign raises about 1 million meals for Feeding America and local food banks.

Prior to 1999, most food banks received donations of dry foods and canned goods. Food Lion was the first to look at how to donate perishable items in a food-safe way. Before long, food banks and their clients became accustomed to having fresh items and other retailers took notice. Dave Grossnickle, Senior Account Manager, Feeding America.

In-Store Campaigns Each year, the company partners with customers by conducting multiple in-store campaigns to raise awareness of hunger and enable them to help give back to their local communities. Food Lion Feeds' "Summers Without Hunger" campaign turns local students' artwork depicting what hunger means to them into reusable bags sold in stores. Each bag sold helps provide six meals to Feeding America and local food banks. In the fall, the grocer helps provide meals to families facing hunger through the sale of Food Lion Feeds bagged apples. Six meals are

Pictured (L to R): Senior Vice President of Retail Operations Greg Finchum with MacKenzie Hinson, who at 10-years-old established Make A Difference Food Pantry in Goldsboro, N.C., alongside Food Lion President Meg Ham. Hinson was The Feedy's 2017 winner of "The Lion Heart Award," which recognizes an individual that demonstrates outstanding skills in coordinating and motivating groups of donors and volunteers for Food Lion Feeds' hunger-relief projects.

The Feedys While committed to hunger relief, Food Lion Feeds knows it cannot solve the hunger problem alone. As a way to say "thank you" to its incredible partners, Food Lion Feeds hosts "The Feedys" Awards each year to honor food banks, community partners and Food Lion associates who share the company's commitment to ending hunger in the communities it serves. The Feedys honors the company's partnerships with 30 local food banks through "years of service" awards. It also recognizes an individual hunger hero, a Food Lion store, two Food Lion associates, one vendor partner and a food bank partner of the year for their passion and commitment to fighting hunger. Food Lion Feeds is proud to have such meaningful, impactful partnerships.


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

Food Lion leaders and associates set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for "Most bagged lunches assembled in one hour;" donates all 10,320 lunches to local food banks and schools in greater Hot Springs, Va., market.


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation In 2001, Food Lion created a 501(c)(3) foundation operated by a volunteer board of directors in order to streamline requests for financial donations to eliminate hunger. The Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation supports a variety of hunger-related initiatives, including "Feeding the Hungry" grants each year. The foundation has given away more than $10 million across Food Lion’s operating area since its inception. Specifically, grants support children at risk of hunger and support feeding agencies by helping to increase their "fresh" capacity so families can put nutritious meals on their tables. The foundation also helps provide nutrition education to eliminate the health risks of the hungry.

Food Lion is an important partner in our fight against hunger. Mr. Ketner was a driving force in the early days of our organization and Food Lion has provided food for our pantry for over 25 years. Each year, the level of volunteer support we receive from Food Lion employees has expanded. Food Lion has helped make our community a better place to live. Kyna S. Grubb, Executive Director, Rowan Helping Ministries.

We are proud of our efforts and results. We are making a difference. Rudy DiPietro, Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation President and Food Lion Vice President of Merchandising, with Food Lion and Delhaize America since 2003.


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

WE ARE THE TOWNS AND CITIES WE SERVE In addition to hunger relief, Food Lion is committed to the towns and cities it serves through disaster relief, sustainability and support of armed forces and veterans. “We are the towns and cities we serve” is an important part of not only Food Lion’s brand narrative, but of its culture as well. Food Lion is there for its communities in times of need, particularly when disaster strikes. Whether it was Hurricane Hugo in 1989 or Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Food Lion was there with food and water. From hurricanes and tornadoes, to wildfires and droughts, Food Lion understands communities rely on the company to be there in times of need, and takes that responsibility very seriously.

Food Lion is the only grocer to win Energy Star Partner Award from the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) for 16 years in a row. Courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Food Lion has been a pioneer in the energy space for many years. We've made great strides in sustainability within our stores, including being committed to reducing our carbon dioxide emissions throughout our 10-state footprint, resulting in being named an EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year® for 16 consecutive years. I'm very proud to work at a company committed to sustainability excellence. Kyle Mitchell, Vice President of Store Development, with Food Lion since 1999.


Committed to the planet Taking care of the environment is the right thing to do and it makes good business sense. Mr. Ketner set the stage for environmental innovation in recycling. He explained his vision in a TV ad: “A big savings on your grocery bill and a big savings on our forest lands. Because at Food Lion, when we save you save. And, so does our environment.”

Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

Food Lion savings get passed on to customers, and company frugality also pays off in terms of carbon footprint, healthy food choices and safe store environments.

Employer," signifying that Food Lion provides benefits to full-time, active-duty employees beyond what is required by the federal government.

In the early days, banana boxes were recycled, used envelopes were repurposed, and the meat department sold ground-up bones and fat for fertilizer. More recently, Food Lion led the way in zero waste efforts to increase composting so unusable items that couldn't be donated to local food banks are sent to farms instead of landfills. Food Lion also coordinates a significant network of farmers, distributors and associates to ensure food waste not safe for human consumption goes to the right places. Another example is cardboard recycling. In the 1980s, cardboard balers sent flattened boxes back to the warehouse. Later, Food Lion began sending waxed cardboard to a manufacturer of fire-starter logs. Today, cardboard is recycled or repurposed in every Food Lion store and all corporate offices including distribution centers. In 2016 alone, Food Lion recycled more than 115,000 pounds of cardboard.

Food Lion received the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the federal government to employers for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. The company was one of only 15 organizations chosen from 2,500 nominees.

Food Lion's commitment to the environment goes well beyond recycling. Food Lion is committed to energy savings as well. More than 30 years ago, Food Lion was ahead of its time as a computer at headquarters was set to remotely turn the lights off in each store after closing time. Food Lion has long utilized excess heat thrown off from refrigeration and air conditioning to warm its stores. Today, several stores are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. A Southport, N.C., store was the most environmentally-friendly grocery store in the world when it was built. Food Lion is the only grocer to win the Energy Star Partner Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Â 16 years in a row.

I'm proud for the opportunity to show gratitude for the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country every day. We consider our military and veteran customers our neighbors, friends and in many cases, our family. Steve Petty, Director of Strategy and Implementation, with Food Lion since 1989.



Dedicated to the Troops




Food Lion is grateful to the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country every day. The company supports local military personnel - active, retired and reserve - near military bases in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. On Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, active and retired military personnel receive 10 percent off their entire purchase. Food Lion was the first major corporation in North Carolina to sign a corporate statement of support for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a voluntary branch of the United States Department of Defense that supports employment and military service of National Guard and Reserve members. Food Lion's efforts earned the company the ESGR designation of "Preferred


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

LION’S PRIDE FOUNDATION The Lion’s Pride Foundation is another way Food Lion associates care for each other in times of need. Established formally in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) organization, the Foundation provides financial assistance to associates of the company, their immediate families and other community members in times of financial crisis arising from natural disasters, fire, serious illness, disease, domestic abuse or other grave injury. Principle funding for the Lion's Pride Foundation comes directly from the annual Associate Giving Campaign. Lion’s Pride is a testament to how Food Lion associates care for each other as individuals. Sharing through Lion’s Pride embodies the caring spirit of the people of Food Lion. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated more than $2 million in assistance to associates and others experiencing crisis situations. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 was the single largest event supported by the Foundation, and its largest level of aid to associates.

People are hurting, and the sooner we can get them a check, the sooner they can get their lives back together. Craig Coghill, Pricing Extension Manager and Lion’s Pride Foundation Treasurer, Food Lion associate since 1985.


Devastation left by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 affected many, including a Food Lion building and many Food Lion associates. Photo courtesy of Rick LaCroix.

Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

Pictured (L to R): Lion's Pride Foundation board members, including Maxine Barnes, Jon Corriher, Elizabeth Johnson, Greg Finchum, Adrian Baker, Craig Coghill, Garland Scarboro. Not Pictured: Keith Nicks, Rudy DiPietro, Marwan Fakhouri, Ben Theriault.




60 Stories for 60 Years

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

NELSON LIVENGOOD TRUCK DRIVER, DC 10 "I’VE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGE." What was your first job with the company? I started working in the Food Town warehouse when I was 20. They were paying $1.35. Mr. Ketner’s secretary told me I would need to talk to him directly about my pay so I came back the following day. He started me at $1.45 and said I’d have to work 55 hours a week. Of course, I started out working 60 plus hours and never stopped. I pulled orders with Mr. Ketner. He was a hands-on boss. There were no computers then, only check-off lists. Mr. Ketner called out the orders, we'd grab and stack them on floats, then load the truck. Mr. Ketner remembered names. He had a lot of respect. He was a workaholic along with the rest of us. Now I’ve been driving for 21 years. I’ll be 71 in October 2017. I was in management as a regional transportation supervisor. I’ve seen a lot of change. It is a family.



When the name changed from Food Town to Food Lion, what did people think? I don’t know. I was too busy working. That wasn’t long after the LFPINC when business really started booming.

What has changed in transportation? Today we have all the perishables on a refrigerated truck. We used to put the perishables on the nose with insulated panels and the dry goods in the back. When I was in management, we had 300 applications for truck drivers. I hired the first female driver, Jane Biggers, and the first African-American driver, Billy Fox. Why is Food Lion a good company to work for? Food Lion has competitive pay and drivers can be home at night. We have excellent equipment and our own shops for repairs. We take care of our associates. A happy employee is a good employee. Plus, Food Lion has been good to the community. We have a heart as a company. Do you take pride in being the most tenured associate? Well, yes. Over the years, I’ve tried to do my best. I have worked with a lot of good people. I’m thankful for what I was able to do and learn.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

JIMMY CHATMAN STORE MANAGER “I CARRY A MARBLE WITH ME EVERYWHERE I GO.” Jimmy started with Food Town part-time in high school when he was 17 years old, but came on full-time in 1971. He became a store manager at age 25. What was it like in the early years at Food Town? I started in Kernersville when we were advancing like crazy. I helped open lots of stores. I would start my regular job at 5 a.m. and leave at noon to head to the new store to help until midnight. I have worked in 43 stores over the years. The first time I met Mr. Ketner, I was 18 years old. It was a June or July day and we were loading a truck. It must have been about 120 degrees in that truck. Mr. Ketner was there handing out the profit-sharing statements. He loved to watch people work. He appreciated effort.


What has changed over the years in the store? Ordering for one thing. We ordered groceries from Salisbury, N.C. There was a book with all products listed and perforated tabs indicating quantity. We went item by item and tore off the right strip. Then, we took the order to the nearby bus station to send it to Salisbury. We would have the groceries about two days later. It was advanced ordering later when we used the phone to call orders in. We have come a long way with computer-assisted ordering. Every Monday was pricing day. It took all day. We each were assigned an aisle, and had markers and stacks of brilliant green shelf tags.

The registers were different. When there was a power outage, we could hand-crank the register. Before the bar code and scanning, the cashiers were experts. Their fingers could fly. Have the customers changed too? Absolutely. We used to know what day it was by who shopped that day. Saturday was the busiest day, with Friday second. For years we were closed on Sundays, but now Sunday is the busiest. One thing that has not changed is that we care for the people who shop with us. We know people by name. It’s a neighborhood store. What’s next for you at Food Lion? I still like what I do. Dedication and doing the right thing have paid off for me. Now it’s about the future and the employees that come after me. Any favorite memories? One of our co-founder's sons, Ronnie Smith, was talking to a group of store managers. He passed around a bucket of marbles and asked every person to grab one. He told us to put the marble in our pocket every day and let it remind us to tell someone they did a good job that day. Now I carry a marble with me everywhere I go. It reminds me that I’m nothing without my employees.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

KELVIN CARRIKER STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER "RACK 'EM AND STACK ‘EM." What is one of your earliest memories from Food Lion? Everything was glass back then. When you purchased any drink, you paid a deposit and then you could bring the bottles back to get your deposit. We had to return them to the supplier. If you got stuck in the bottle room on Saturday to swap out empties, you had to rack ‘em and stack ‘em. One day, I was restocking warm beer and one of the bottles had broken and was stuck to the shelf. As I was getting it cleaned up, my hand slipped and the broken bottle cut me and I had to get stiches. When I was leaving for the doctor's office, my store manager asked me for my work permit. I did not have one since I was only 15 when I started. My manager did not ask for one when he was hiring me. It was a very small store. Our cold beer cases were two doubledoor coolers on the back aisle endcaps. Everything on the condiment aisle was in glass, too. There was a lot of clean up and it kept us busy.


What are other bygone duties from those days? We offered parcel pickup service. All the shopping carts had numbers on them. The customers would show their receipt when they pulled up. We had to stand out front, no matter what the weather, and put the groceries in the cars. Rain, snow, heat, it didn’t matter. If that’s where you were assigned, that was your job for the day. You hoped the cashier had good handwriting so that you could get the groceries in the right car. It was fun though. There was never a dull moment.


We had about 15 stores when I started. I helped open Store 40 in Cary, N.C., in 1975. I told my boss I’d go for six months, but I stayed there eight years. That was during our growth in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It has not stopped since. The one thing I always wanted to do once I became a store manager was make my store the neighborhood grocery store of choice, where every customer felt comfortable and welcomed whether they spent $1 or $100. What stands out as far as changes over the years? If I flash back to when we did new stores, I am amazed. Today we have a sign shop, but back then we had a guy that came to the stores with markers and painted the windows by hand. In our early years, we talked a lot about our associates needing training to execute their roles, and we did training to a point. Today training for associates is focused, deliberate and sustainable to create the best shopping experience possible for our customers. It used to be that Store 1 in Salisbury, N.C., and a store in Murrells Inlet, S.C., would be laid out exactly the same. Bread was on aisle 10. Today we group products that customers look for and purchase together to make shopping easier. We also carry and promote more locally-made products. Were you able to meet any of the company founders? I came to work at Store 1 one day when they needed extra help and I actually worked alongside Wilson Smith. I was amazed that one of the founders was putting canned goods on the shelf.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

DAVE BELLIS DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS “IT’S BEEN A GREAT RIDE.” How did you come to work for Food Lion? I came into Food Lion via Hannaford and Bloom. I’m originally from the Northeast and migrated to North Carolina for career opportunities and great weather. Bloom was a Food Lion brand from 2004 to 2012, when it was retired. What was the Bloom experience like? Bloom was a new brand and it was an exciting opportunity. We grew it from one to five stores in this area when I was in merchandising. Bloom was highly customer-centric, and I think we have carried some of those positive attributes into the Food Lion brand today. I learned a lot as part of the Bloom test, including that customer service focus. The technology we employed at Bloom was cutting-edge at the time, not unlike the digital work Food Lion is doing now. This helps us better compete in a competitive environment.


What’s your region like? The Mt. Airy, N.C., region is large and very diverse. We have rural towns as well as cities like Winston-Salem,

plus a seasonal store in Sparta that’s significantly busier in the summertime. Our customers and associates are as diverse as their communities. We have 23 stores in the region and we just keep getting better, partly because we appreciate our associates. This is hard work and we can’t do it without them. What is a favorite Food Lion memory for you? Personally, I like the Sort-A-Rama effort we put together with Food Lion Feeds every year where we sort bags of beans and pack thousands of meals to feed hungry families. I like to see our associates come together as a team like that. What’s next for you at Food Lion? It’s an exciting time to work for Food Lion. We have had quarter after quarter of same store sales growth, which is unprecedented in the challenging supermarket industry. Our strategy of taking care of the customer and looking out for our associates has transferred into organizational success. It’s been a great ride for me and the ride continues.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

DIANE MEDLIN RETAIL SERVICE MANAGER “A CAMARO FULL OF CASH." What was it like in 1978? I was a part-time cashier at Store 26 in Charlotte, N.C. We didn’t take debit or credit cards. We were on a NCR255 cash register. The keypad was 10 keys and you would push the amount and then the department key, which was color-coded. I remember the produce key was green. Scanning didn’t come until the 1980s. We took checks, cash and paper food stamps. When you became a cashier, you had to take a test on simple addition. You had to pass that math test to be sure you could count change back to the customer. The registers didn’t calculate change for you. You had to be able to count change fast, too. Payroll was all by hand. You had the old timey punch clock. You calculated time on the calculator and keyed it in and kept a copy with a carbon sheet and then put it all in the big brown mail bag. Our store was the payroll collection point for our district’s mail bags. They were all put on a truck to Salisbury on Sunday.


The buggy was really different. It was associate-unload. The basket of the buggy folded up and had a gate on the front. It was shallow and it barely cleared the counter. You had to check every price by hand. We had ink pricing that was done with peg stamps and an ink pad. If you messed up, hairspray would work to clean the ink off so you could start over. Once we got pricing guns with labels we were like gunslingers!


We were closed on Sundays. It was one of my favorite memories. We would meet our store operations supervisor at the park and play softball. Afterwards, we would go to somebody’s house and grill out. How was the switch from Food Town to Food Lion? There was this great radio show called The John Boy and Billy Big Show. They had seen Mr. Ketner’s television commercial with Mr. Ketner and a real lion. John Boy and Billy did this whole spiel on us. It was a parody of our name, calling us Food Flounder and Food Lobster. They were so funny. I will never forget it. What memories stick out for you? Hurricane Hugo in 1989 was Food Lion's first official emergency order for a natural disaster. The banks were closed and the power was down and the National Guard was called in. I remember they had guns. Charlotte experienced 160 mph winds, but I made it to a banker who would provide money for us to open stores. Store 380 had not lost power. I drove there with a Camaro full of cash so they could do business. People were lined up to shop. Now I am on the core weather team. We are ready to go 24/7 to handle wildfires, civil unrest, storms and other disasters. We still have the same can-do attitude. We are usually back to business ahead of our competitors. Even during Hurricane Matthew, we were back open in four days. There’s not much we can’t figure out.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

BARBARA MCELVEEN REGIONAL TALENT DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST “AT FOOD LION, YOU’RE FAMILY.” How did you come to work for Food Lion? I really wanted to be a flight attendant. I had applied with Eastern Airlines and with Food Lion. I’ll never forget, my father said “Barbie, I want you to do what makes you happy, but flying is expensive and not everyone can do it. Everyone has to eat. I can guarantee you’ll always have a job if you work for Food Lion.” How right he was. Eastern Airlines went out of business. My sister worked for them and got laid off. I was able to support her for a while until she found another job. Did you enjoy being a cashier? When I came on at Food Lion, I was the kind of person who would start a job and stay for about a month. My dad told me I couldn’t change jobs like I change my shirt. I started as a part-time cashier. I got to talk to customers all day. I love people and talking to them and I couldn’t believe this company was going to pay me for it.

Barbara and her son Tyler both work for Food Lion.


I met my husband at the Food Lion in Charlotte, N.C. He was a wine vendor. They would bring in the wine and someone had to price it and put it on the shelf. I was that girl.

What has made you stay for 39 years? When I moved to Raleigh to get married, my director back then was Greg Evans. He came by to talk to me. He said he hated to see me move to Raleigh and that I was going to be missed. He took a quarter out of his pocket and gave it to me. He said, “Here at Food Lion, you’re family. If you get to Raleigh and you need anything, you call me.” When he handed me that quarter and said that, I realized I could never leave this company. They care about me. What’s next for you? My youngest son Tyler just started working for Food Lion. He’s a part-time stocker while he is in school for Information Technology. We all want to see our kids grow up and be productive in life. I told him if he wanted to work for Food Lion, he had to go get the job on his own and I wasn’t playing any part of it. Well, he did. He came home and said, “I watch you every day and Food Lion must have something special because you don’t miss a beat.”


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

DEBBIE LOVE FRESH FOODS BUYER “I HAD A SPECIAL CUSTOMER … ANNIE WALKER.” What was it like to work in a store in 1978? I started as a cashier in Concord, N.C. It was the first store there and it was very busy. People were excited to shop at Food Town. The low prices were really attractive. Any fun stories from the early days? I was a buyer. One fall close to the holiday season, I started in the frozen department. We had to order lots of pies. I remember that my order of pumpkin pies didn’t come in. I called the distributor and they didn’t have any of our pies. It wasn’t funny then, but it’s funny now. My manager would walk around the office and kid me. He would say, “I sure would love some pumpkin pie today, Debbie.” I did have pumpkin pie in the store before the holidays, but not on the week I wanted them.


How is the job different today? At that time, we would order a lot more inventory to get the best cost. You could order up to five weeks’ worth of groceries. Now you don’t do that. You order just in time. We have learned how to maintain the inventory we need and not have excess. The mentality has changed too. We want the freshest products. I love buying. It’s different every day. You have a regular schedule and accounts, tracking trucks and working with vendors. I love that interaction. Being a buyer keeps me busy.


Do you have a favorite memory? I had a special customer in Concord. Her name was Annie Walker. I was the manager on duty one day when she came up to me and said she needed to leave her groceries because she didn’t feel well. I took her groceries to her home during my lunch. She lived a couple blocks from the store. Soon, I started doing it every week. I would get her groceries for her every Tuesday. She could tell me by aisle what she wanted, what brand and everything. Later, when I moved to the corporate office, she would mail me her grocery list with a check. I drove them to her house in Concord. I did that for seven or eight years. She sent me cards. She had been a school teacher and she had beautiful penmanship. We became good friends. Miss Annie was a special person. I learned so much from her. It’s like she became a member of our family. She didn’t have any children. Her brother passed away before she did. You build relationships with the people you work with even if you don’t work with them every day. Food Lion is very much a family. We come together when someone is sick or needs help. It’s what we do.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

JEFF HINSON CATEGORY MANAGER – FRESH BAKERY “WE DON’T KNOW WHAT 9-TO-5 IS.” What have you seen change over the years? Everything has changed in the product lines, depending on the department. One thing I recall is when we started carrying bottled water. A bunch of associates were laughing at the fact that we were trying to sell water. Now, everybody buys it every day. Other things that have changed are powdered laundry detergent to liquid. Also, today a lot of meat is packaged before it gets to the store, but it used to be that meat was cut on demand. As far as store layout, back in the day the stores were smaller and we did not have a deli/bakery in all the stores, but now that’s a regular department. It used to be we would bake angel food cakes in the store, and now our assortment is much greater, but less is done at the store level. We try to have a good mix.


How do you know what customers want? We try to keep up on trends. We follow what restaurants do, plus suppliers and brokers keep us up to date and we go to food shows. Have you ever experienced a natural disaster with the company? I was the store manager in Charlotte, N.C., when Hurricane Hugo hit the coast in 1989. Instead of

decreasing speed, it increased as it came through the Carolinas. Back then we didn’t have electronics or cell phones. We had some stores without power for at least a week. When daylight hit, I was supposed to open. I picked up another store manager to take him to work because he had a tree on his car. I remember trying to navigate our way with all the devastation. But our associates came to work. We got all our charcoal and water transferred to the stores that were open. Some associates had to sleep over in the store. Everybody pulled together and did their part. Any surprises along the way? Way back, we were closed on Sundays. I was 16 or 17. I remember the letter we got from Ralph Ketner saying we would open on Sundays due to competition. We were probably one of the last ones to get on board. Our customers supported it, but we were very surprised. What has a Food Lion career been like for you? We don’t know what 9-to-5 is. We are available for the customer. There have always been challenges, which is why it’s rewarding. It’s like a special ball team. There’s a camaraderie about it. And it’s been a lot of fun.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

TONY NUSSMAN RETIRED PRINTING SERVICES MANAGER “THE KEY TO OUR SUCCESS.” Tony started as screen print operator in 1979 and retired in 2017. When I came on board, Mr. Ketner was still coming to the office. My office was on Julian Road where the print shop was located at that time, so I would see him periodically. We had a slim staff back then so I wore many hats. We began truly expanding in the early to mid-‘80s. It was huge for the print department. We made signs by hand for all the store grand openings. We did 64 stores at once one time. We used to handmake the 20-foot banners for annual shareholder meetings, too. Looking back, it was huge, but it didn't seem like such an arduous task. When there was a sales tax increase, we kicked off a program to save consumers one percent across the board. The signage department was essentially sequestered. Mr. Ketner brought all of us into a boardroom and told us to get out if we couldn’t keep a secret. He didn't want the news getting out before announcement day. We do a terrific job being a community leader. I never heard a complaint from a single associate to put in the hours to help. It has been the key to our success.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

DONNIE DAILEY PRODUCE CATEGORY MANAGER “YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT FRESHNESS.” What was your first job with Food Lion? I was looking for a job as soon as I turned 16. I had a paper route since I was nine. There were not a lot of jobs at the time. There were "no help needed" signs everywhere. I started with Food Town in 1980 at the High Point, N.C., store on S. Main Street. I was a bagger, a clerk and worked in produce, frozen food and dairy. I was the night guy and the clean-up guy. Through college, I was a perishable manager. After school, I had strong support from supervision teams. They recognized potential in me. I was 26 when I become a supervisor.

Pictured (L to R): Donnie Dailey, Katelyn Dailey, Abby Dailey, wife Sabrina and dog Izzy.


Ironically, I have come full circle to produce as I now manage east and west coast vegetables. There are so many opportunities within this company. I have gotten to do many different things. How is it different today? The biggest difference is we merchandise by four seasons. Many items we enjoy every day now were only seasonal then. January and through the holiday season were citrus and apples. The spring brought strawberries and watermelon. Of course, watermelon lasted all summer. We put big displays out with each change. We packaged everything then as well. There was little to no bulk produce. We dictated to customers how much they were going to buy. We had different sized

trays for different amounts, such as apples, tomatoes, mustard greens. Even bananas were wrapped and preweighed. Today you choose the amount you want. What is keeping you busy now? We have a Local Goodness campaign we established in North Carolina last year and it has been well received by our customers. The organization made a decision to expand the program to feature local products in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. People take pride in where they live. We want to support local economies. We are expanding our suppliers and growers within the Food Lion footprint. For example, corn is harvested all the way up the coast. It is in Georgia in June and later in the Carolinas and Virginia, then moves north further into summer. Another example is celery. It will go up the east coast and over to Michigan and then to California depending on the growing region. Our customers can see their products growing in the field and then go into a Food Lion and bring it home fresh. That product doesn’t have to go through the supply chain. It’s harvested in the field and the next day it’s in our stores. The Local Goodness campaign gives our customers a feeling of supporting companies and farmers right there in their community. It’s a win for everyone. You can’t beat that freshness.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

JAMES RICHARD (“RICK”) FAIN, JR. EXECUTION IMPLEMENTATION SPECIALIST “THE REAL THRILL.” What was your first experience of Food Lion? I was 16 and I went into Food Town Store 14 in Greensboro, N.C., with my mother. The store manager told us they were looking for people and asked me to apply. He gave me a paper application and I took it home. My mother said "Don’t get your hopes up. Go in there tomorrow and be professional and tell them thank you for being interested in you." But that same afternoon, the store manager called and asked me to come back in. They hired me that day. The thing that impressed me is it was very welcoming and inviting. I felt valued. The attention they gave me, the idea that these individuals had confidence in me, was a genuine connection that reinforced for me this is a pretty cool company. I did whatever was needed to get done. You would work 10 to 12 hours at a stint and be absolutely exhausted but feel like you accomplished something. In the late ‘80s, we were growing pretty fast. There was a new store popping up on every corner. There were



high expectations, but it was a tight-knit group. You would do everything you possibly could to make the company better. I was impressed that the company was asking our opinion on what we thought about how to improve. In the beginning, it was about cutting costs. Reusing truck tires was one of the things that came out in the findings. We did simple things like monitoring the lights and thermostats and reusing paper clips and rubber bands. It is important to save a dime so that we can reinvest in the company. What do you like about your job today? The biggest thing I remember is coming to the company and feeling welcomed. It’s the same way I feel today. We want to make a difference for the customers and the associates. The real thrill is when you see that lightbulb come on inside a young associate or when you know you’ve made someone’s day.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

PATTY HOLT EXECUTION IMPLEMENTATION SPECIALIST “ONE OF THE ONLY WOMEN.” How did you come to work for Food Lion? I started as a part-time cashier in 1978 while I was studying criminal justice at UNC Charlotte. When I was in an assistant bookkeeper role, we didn’t cover up our paychecks and I happened to see what they were making in the meat department. So I decided I wanted to learn the trade as a meat cutter. There was a training program for meat cutters and meat wrappers. When I was wrapping, I could get ahead of the meat cutters and they were kind enough to show me how to cut. How the meat is cut is directly tied to customer satisfaction.


I was one of the only women in that job. People would stop by and watch me through the window. They would stop and ring the bell and talk to me about being a female meat cutter, older people especially. That just inspired me to do more with the company, including serving as a market manager, store manager, deli bakery supervisor, grocery merchandiser, operations supervisor, district manager and execution and implementation specialist. How is it different now? Food Town was a very frugal company, which helped us along the way. We would bag up our laundry and send the dirty laundry back on the perishable truck to the distribution center. They would collect it from truck to truck and your clean laundry came back that way, too. I used to always hope and pray I wasn’t on laundry duty. I would rather close than sort that laundry.

You had to keep your coat hangers because they were for sale as a general merchandise item. This was before recycling. The way we operate today is much better. I say that from standing on the sidelines and looking back. How is it being a female executive? I was among one of the first females to get in supervision. People ask me what is different between then and now and I laugh and say “the bathroom lines.” There used to be no line for the women. There were times where I could be in a divisional meeting and I was the only woman. After a while if people saw I knew what I was talking about, they would ask for my feedback. That was rewarding. I want to do all I can to make my company better. The ability of women to excel in the company has grown by leaps and bounds. The doors have been opened. If you have the desire and motivation, the only thing that stands in your way is yourself. What other changes have you seen? Our culture today is so embracing of the associates. That’s the biggest positive change. Today our company as a whole has a better understanding of how to value people. Look at our recent success. They are free to bring their whole self to work. They don’t have to worry if they make the wrong decision. We encourage people to take ownership, and if it doesn’t work, try something else.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years



How did you come to work for Food Lion? I moved to North Carolina from Pennsylvania for college. My roommate worked at Food Town. When he got a job in Charlotte, N.C., in 1981, I took his job as a bagger at Food Town.

came up to me and said “I’ve got something for you. We just bought five Winn-Dixie stores and we need you to flip them by Thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving was in 16 days. That was a whirlwind. We remodeled them while they were still Winn-Dixie and opened on time.

About the time I went to Store Manager College, a colleague showed me his Food Town stock certificate. I knew if I stayed here long enough, I’d have one too. I was motivated by long-term financials, but I fell in love with the company and that’s what has kept me here all these years.

What do you love about your job? I have a real emotional connection to Food Lion. My first stock option paid for my first home. I had four children and it’s allowed me to send my children to college and will provide a nice retirement for me. I am so thankful for everything the company has given me.

What was Store Manager College like in those days? Store Manager College was very different. Today it’s more time in the classroom mastering people skills and management. Back in the day you worked in every department for four weeks each. The closest store where I could train was Jacksonville, N.C., so I had to make a 90-minute drive each way every day. I ended up in the program for about six months because of construction delays on the new Wilmington stores. Funny thing is, that mileage check from Store Manager College paid for my honeymoon cruise in the Bahamas.

Has the “Count on me” culture changed the company? What was cool about that for me is that I watched “Count on me” come to life when I was with Bottom Dollar Food. You can see the pride within the company. People are not scared to make decisions and really run their business.

What challenges did you face? I work in strategy markets to help operations through the construction phase. Around 2003, I was walking down the hall in Salisbury, N.C., and one of the executives


Do you have a favorite story? My Mr. Ketner story is my favorite day ever at Food Town. I was the grocery manager in Wilmington, N.C. Mr. Ketner asked to walk the store with me. I had not been with the company more than a year. He told me about selling ice cream from a little pushcart when he was a kid in Salisbury. As we walked the store, he called out all 50 different flavors. He could still rattle them off.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

GARY SMITH STRATEGIC IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER “THE Y2K PHENOMENON.” What was a first milestone for you at Food Lion? I was hired at Food Town in Asheboro, N.C., Store 47. In 1983, I was awarded Regional Grocery Manager of the Year. I received a $500 bonus which was outstanding 30 years ago! What memories stand out? With the Year 2000 (Y2K) phenomenon, we had all of these security questions. Because of the uncertainties, store operations supervisors were required to be at their office store at midnight to make sure everything was okay. I was at Food Lion Store 1544 in Carrboro, N.C. Our computers weren't set up to handle four-digit dates, so payroll and sales numbers could have messed up. We were just becoming computerized at this time so it was an unknown entity. We even closed our 24-hour stores early. Come midnight, there were no issues, all the stores called in, and then everyone went out and had some fun.

Pictured (L to R): Wilson Smith, Gary Smith, Ralph Ketner.


What’s your favorite part of your job? The best thing about my tenure at Food Lion is meeting my wife. She works as a retail pricing coordinator in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and has been with Food Lion for 18 years. We have been married for 18 years! I have done a lot of store conversions and, more recently, wave remodels. I have been lucky to travel from Florida to our northernmost states and have gotten a lot of exposure to things and people. Without my job, I wouldn’t have traveled to our nation’s capital and Tennessee, Kentucky, Delaware, West Virginia and Maryland. I’ve been all over.

Gary Smith pictured in The Profile, March 1984, after winning Regional Grocery Manager of the Year.

There were people who coached me along and pushed me and supported me. There’s still hard work to get done but I feel appreciated knowing that people really respect me. The leadership is genuine and sincere and it’s given me new energy over time. What changes stand out? I consider myself a techie. I love gadgets and today’s mobility. I was one of the first to have a laptop. Very few associates had laptops in 1997. It probably weighed about 40 pounds. We were using them as auditors to document our work. Food Lion has kept up with the times. I saw the evolution of our business as a store manager. I recall the first go at automated ordering; my store, Store 62 in Chapel Hill, N.C., was a pilot for that. It is similar to what we do today, but that was 1991. We didn't end up ultimately using that system, but the experience helped to form the systems we have today. One thing that stands out is how the resort town stores handle dramatic changes in product, customer visits and associate hires. Your store does a certain amount of business in March and then four times the amount in June. You marvel at their planning and coordination to be able to pull that off. It’s jawdropping but we have people that fit the job perfectly. There have been so many technological advances. That’s how fast-paced our industry is. Food Lion innovates to help associates serve our customers.

For a guy who grew up in a small town and didn’t know what to do with my life, Food Town was the answer for me.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

ROB DAVIS REGIONAL TALENT DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST “GET STARTED.” How many jobs have you held with Food Lion? Too many to even remember: bagger, cashier, produce, stocking, meat department, assistant manager, store manager, merchandising specialist and training department. What do you think about the “Count on me” culture? I like to say I was “Count on me” before “Count on me” was cool. I am 100 percent sure the majority of stores were doing it already. Here’s a funny thing, now that I am in the training department; the day I was hired, I started right away that very day as a bagger. I came in wearing jeans and a T-shirt. My whole training consisted of "Don’t put anything heavy on top of bread or eggs. Get started."

Pictured (L to R): Rob Davis, Ralph Ketner.



Do you have any stories about customers? One lady called me over in Siler City, N.C. This was about 20 years ago. Her name was Mrs. Bradford. She was very upset we didn’t have Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix. She liked to bake cakes. I found her another brand, Betty Crocker, and talked to her about using it. I gave her a box for free to try it. She was so pleased that I went above and beyond that she would bake and bring cakes to the store for us.

One gentlemen came in and he would go around and get to know everyone in the store. His name was Bob McKee and he would check in a couple of times a week. Well, when he died we took a fruit tray to his home and paid our condolences. Some of his kids were there and they couldn’t believe a local grocery store was doing that for their father. What has changed over the years? The stores are really nice now. I get to go into markets and give them remodels, and not just the brick and mortar kind. Folks around town are raving about how nice Food Lion is. The changes came after 2011, when we went to customers and surveyed them to find out what was most important to them. We went back to the basics. For example, there is a sense of urgency now to get the customers through the registers. When I started, I thought of it as a summer job. I never thought I would still be here. There’s a sense of family and camaraderie at Food Lion that can’t be beat. It’s a very good company.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

KEVIN OLIVER MERCHANDISING DIRECTOR “INNOVATE AND TRANSFORM.” How did you get to 36 years? I fell in love with the grocery business from an early age. I worked for Alexander’s in New Hampshire until Hannaford bought it. I started as a part-time grocery clerk and spent the first 20 years on the retail side of the business. The next thing I knew I was in North Carolina enjoying a successful career with Food Lion.

The biggest change I recognize is we listen to our customers. We know what they are looking to add to their baskets. We are more efficient and we have a better consumer-facing product.

What was Food Lion like when you arrived in Salisbury? It was different than what I had previously experienced. Food Lion was very cost conscious. On my first day when I asked for office supplies, I got a pencil and paper and was told if I wanted sticky note pads, I needed to buy my own.

What’s the latest in merchandising? It’s refreshing to think about how we are listening to our customers and taking more risks with innovative products. Today there is a notion of whole meal replacement. Some customers don’t know how or have time to cook. We are offering solutions like meal kits, marinated meats and oven-ready items.

You know, you sit back and watch the evolution around you, both the change of how Food Lion and Hannaford came together and the facelift of our headquarters building, and it has really been impressive. People work hard and they have great pride and loyalty. What has changed over the years? We have shifted how we do business and have learned to negotiate differently with vendors.


There was a lot of pride in low prices. The category managers were buying for all 1,200 stores. In the lower volume stores, you could hardly walk the floor because there was so much product. Today we determine what each store is able to handle.

Food Lion continues to innovate and transform. Every year, if you think you’re moving fast, watch out! It’s going to get faster.

What differentiates Food Lion today? Three things. I would compare our prices against anybody. Most of our competitors are either fresh or affordable. We deliver both. Second, for the most part, you don’t have to go far to find one of our stores. Third, our associates are part of the community. They know how to do their jobs well and connect back to our customers. Even when the work is hard or stressful, the way folks care about each other at Food Lion has really been phenomenal.

I was over shelf management for a while. Gone are the days of someone sitting with a blueprint of a store and a pencil spacing out goods: eight feet of peanut butter, eight feet of dressing. Now it’s all computerized.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

CANDY MUNN STORE MANAGER “WE HAD PEOPLE WRAPPED AROUND THE BUILDING OUTSIDE, TRYING TO GET IN.” Candy is store manager at Store 2150 in Savannah, Ga. She began in high school at her hometown Food Town store in St. George, S.C. I started with Food Town as a cashier and was promoted to office assistant when I graduated from high school. I was a customer service manager by the age of 19 and started traveling for the company to open new stores by the age of 21. I opened the first store in Savannah, Ga., and the first three stores in Florida in 1987. Ralph Ketner came in my (St. George) store numerous times. He was very genuine. He hugged us and thanked us for being dedicated to Food Lion. At the first Florida store, the fire department came to assist with our opening because of the crowds and we had so many people inside. We had people wrapped around the building outside, trying to get in. I took a three-year break to homeschool my boys, and then came back. A year later, I became a store manager. Back in the day, we had key entry where we rang up our customers with just a 10-key pad. We stamped or marked prices on all of our items. We made our own signage. We used paper bags. Now we have white or blue plastic bags. Blue bags are for cold or frozen items so that when our customers get home, they know to get their cold items out of the car first.


It’s always great to do something for others. Through Food Lion Feeds, we serve at the food pantries and help feed the homeless. A group of us even get in costumes to put on karaoke shows for senior citizens on some Saturday nights. They look forward to seeing us. The biggest thing I love about Food Lion is the customers. When people choose to shop at Food Lion, they can expect a clean shopping cart with good wheels on it. They can count on us to make sure the produce is fresh for them. They know our cashiers are going to ring them up accurately and efficiently. They’ll have a friendly face to encounter when they shop here.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

RACHEL LAPHAM EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT/DIVISION COORDINATOR “IT'LL ALWAYS BE FOOD LION TO ME.” Rachel began her tenure at Food Lion in 1978 in the Data Processing Department then left North Carolina when her husband was sent to California with the U.S. Navy. She returned for good in 1986. During my first four years, I worked as a key punch operator and then a computer operator. The Data Processing Department (now IT Department) was great. We stood in front of the computer most of the day. We used the square, paper punch cards to run jobs and reports. We fed the cards through the card punch reader and everything ran from that. Later, there were floppy disks and tapes. It’s amazing how technology has evolved. Food Lion Data Processing 1978.

One thing I enjoyed about Food Lion (Food Town at that time) was that Ralph Ketner and Tom Smith would always stop and talk with you. It was a much smaller company then and everyone knew each other. I used to know every store number and city by heart. Many things have changed over the years and that’s progress, but it’ll always be Food Lion to me. It has been a good ride and I hope to stay here until I retire.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Lapham.

When I came back to Salisbury, I realized Food Lion was the best place to work. It was a good company to work for and the benefits were really good too. I started in Accounting, but after a month I transferred to Store Operations (now Retail Operations) and I have been there ever since. I have worked with division vice presidents, stores, directors, store operations supervisors and district managers in the field. We are here to support them. That’s rewarding to me. You can see that you make a difference and you feel appreciated. I have also been privileged to work with phenomenal peers. We always have each other's backs.


I am also on the core weather team. Hurricane Irene in 2011 washed out Highway 12 to the Outer Banks and the island was closed off. We had to use a ferry for Store 685 in Avon, N.C., to get product to the residents. When natural disasters strike, we each have a role to play in taking care of our associates and getting the stores back in business.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

KIM BOWYER STANDARD PRACTICE SPECIALIST “WE TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.” Kim has worked in three stores in Virginia, beginning at age 16 as a part-time cashier. Our father died when I was 13. Mom was in a deep depression. My sister moved in with a friend and my brother was little. As soon as I turned 16, I got a job to help pay grocery bills. We take care of each other. Food Lion has been my entire life. I have my Food Lion family and I have my home family. I still keep up with people I worked with 30 years ago. When I got promoted to store operations supervisor, I got a Food Lion scarf. It was pretty cute for back then. They gave guys ties. I want our customers to always get what they need in a timely fashion. My role is to write the training materials for the fresh departments. I go through food and workplace safety to make sure everything is vetted before it goes to retail. I also do time studies with labor engineers. Back in the day, they would just send things out to the stores. Now we have a very good governance process and items go through a standard practice team before they go to the store. It’s always fun. I see an exciting future for Food Lion!



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

AFRENDA “MISS BRENDA” MUNTZALIA CAKE DECORATOR “I AM LIKE THE STORE GRANDMOTHER.” Miss Brenda is a full-time cake decorator. She retired from the Ocean City, Md., store to take care of her husband before his death, and then came out of retirement to return to Food Lion Store 2123 in Selbyville, Del. What was your path to Food Lion? I am from a small island in Greece with a population of 100. My husband was from the same hometown, but he left very young to go to the U.S. He was in the U.S. Army and served in Germany. We met when he came home to visit his parents. We married and came to Washington, D.C., when I was 19 years old. It was a beautiful time. We raised three children and I have five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. We came by boat. We spent 18 days on the ocean. We came with one suitcase and we made a good life. I always say if you are hard-working and a good person you will make it in the U.S. I am happy working for Food Lion. It’s a nice company. What would you like to say to other Food Lion associates? Always stay with Food Lion. I am happy and I made it. Don’t jump from one place to the other. Pictured (L to R): Don Walsh, Store Manager, and Miss Brenda.

What do you like about your job? I love to decorate cakes and I love to make little kids happy when they pick up their cakes. I see their bright eyes and when they smile, I feel like they are my own. I have never had a complaint. If you have a good family and you have a good life, you always want to do a good job.


I make a lot of cakes, about 30 cakes a day, plus cupcakes and strawberry shortcakes. I will keep working as long as I feel like I do right now. I like to keep busy. Nice people work and shop in this store. The whole store is one big family. I am like the store grandmother.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

TAMMY ANDRE DIRECT STORE DELIVERY (DSD) RECEIVER “FOOD LION HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME.� What has been your Food Lion journey? I started as a part-time cashier and office assistant in 1984. I quickly moved to the produce department and then became a produce manager, a role I held for 23 years. I had a double knee replacement which meant I could no longer perform the duties of my job. I could not lift what was required in produce or unload the trucks. Upon returning to work, I was moved to Direct Store Delivery (DSD). I work at Store 2659 in Portsmouth, Va. In DSD, unloading is not required. I have a cart so I can move items. It is much easier on my knees. I am moving all day. What do you enjoy about working for Food Lion? I love our customers, especially the children. I have seen some of them grow up and go to college. Food Lion has been good to me and I have seen many changes for the better. Food Lion has grown to be an exceptional company and offers employees good compensation packages. I will be retiring at the end of 2017. I would like to thank Food Lion for the many years of opportunities and memories. Pictured (L to R): Store Manager Dinah Wallace and Tammy Andre.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

RAY STERLING ASSISTANT STORE MANAGER FOOD LION “GAVE ME A CHANCE.” What brought you to Food Lion? I have had profound hearing loss since childhood. Back then, you had paper employment applications so you had to request an application. I was not getting hired. I guess if they saw my hearing aid they did not want to take a chance on me. Mary Polaski at Food Lion Store 274 hired me. I’ll never forget her. She was the one who gave me a chance. No one else would give me an interview. I was grateful for that. I’m grateful for the people who have taken notes for me in meetings and the people who trained me in a way that worked for me. And, I’m grateful that I met my wife at Food Lion. We met at Store 279 on aisle five in 1989.


What was the store like in the 1980s? Back then we had no scanners, no computers, no electric safe, no fold down ramp to unload the trucks. One of the hardest things back then was communication, especially between area supervisors and the stores. In order for the supervisors to make sure all stores were on the same program, they had something called tele-alert. It was a very timeconsuming, inefficient way of passing info from one store to another.

then call the next store with the message. This would continue until the final store was called. If there were 25 stores, there were 25 chances for it to get messed up. The biggest problem besides the slowness was how the final message would change. I cannot count how many times a super came into a store and saw a display and said “Why is it like that? Did you not get my tele-alert?” We were all very glad when email was invented. Also, everything was glass back then. I remember the canned Juicy Juice and the Ocean Spray glass bottles especially. At nighttime, you had to go inside the displays to access the cases to refill the outside of the display. One time, we had supervisors in the store and I was inside the display and I hit the side and it fell over in a river of juice. What do you like about your job today? The most important part of my job is hiring right. And after hiring, I like spending time training new associates so they can reach the next level. If you’re successful at Food Lion, you can work at any grocery chain in the world. We have very high standards. I'm grateful for all the people I got to work with throughout the years and also the people at Store 1396 in Newport, N.C., who I work with now. Together, we make a difference each day.

As an example, the supervisor would call one store with a tele-alert. An office person was to write down word for word what the super said and


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

CRAIG COGHILL PRICING EXECUTION MANAGER, FOOD LION, AND VOLUNTEER TREASURER, LION'S PRIDE FOUNDATION “THE CARE IS OVERWHELMING.” Craig has worked for Food Lion in retail operations, internal audit, category management, merchandising, marketing, pricing and volunteers for the Lion’s Pride Foundation. This journey began a mere five days after my 16th birthday. It's been quite a ride, in which I have been privy to many changes; some good, some not so good. Strategies have come and strategies have gone; leaders have come and leaders have gone. One thing has remained constant: a plethora of long-tenured associates. There is a reason so many have remained, persevered even, through all of this change. We do good work here, noble work. Through all of this has remained our heritage: low prices. Yet it goes deeper than that. There is something inherent in our DNA that has allowed us to thrive after 60 years. It's a word we have become very familiar with over recent years: care. Care is the reason we celebrate entering our seventh decade of "selling food to hungry people." Care has manifested itself in so many places throughout our organization, in all locations and all functional areas. I have experienced care in a real and tangible way through our Lion's Pride Foundation. Over the last 16 years, I have had the privilege of writing thousands of checks equaling millions of dollars to associates in crisis. This requires significant donations by the generosity of the associates at Food Lion (and Delhaize America) who give back in support of their fellow associates.



The care is overwhelming. The people of Food Lion care for each other, care for their company and care for the well-being of others, even those they will never meet. I have signed checks for associates who lost everything the night before in a house fire, who were completely flooded out of their home due to a hurricane, who experienced tragedy in the form of cancer or other illness. Often, they find their way to the Lion's Pride Foundation because a fellow associate recommends they seek assistance. Seeing care through the lens of the Lion's Pride Foundation gives me the greatest sense of pride.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

MARK RAY PRODUCE SALES MANAGER “WE ARE A HOMEGROWN STORE.” Mark is produce sales manager at Store 323 in Erwin, Tenn. He began his career with Food Lion in 1985. I became a Food Lion employee due to the buyout of Giant Foods. We were told we were being sold to one company, but at the last minute, Food Lion outbid them. At the time, I was a college student studying physical therapy. Food Lion was new to the area and there was alot of competition. I was part-time. I did a little bit of this and little bit of that. When I became full-time, I was the second person managing perishable at four different stores. At that time, produce and perishable were not separated. I have seen a lot of change. Some are technical, like CAO (computer-assisted ordering), while others are strategic, like running the business through the eyes of the customer. With CAO, instead of spending so much time micromanaging the orders, the computer does it for us. I’m an old-timey person who doesn’t want to let go of old-timey things. I was pleasantly surprised that it is very accurate. It helps with freshness and that is something most customers appreciate, whether young or old. Erwin is a small community. It’s not uncommon for anyone with a problem or event to call us. We have a river rafting company that calls for last-minute orders for rafting expeditions on the Nolichucky River. We help the United States Forestry Service when they need help feeding firefighters who are in from out of town. We partner with one company who wanted to get rid of vending machines. Five days a week we prepare fresh food for them and they distribute it to their staff at break time.

Pictured (L to R): Mark Ray, Tom Long, Rocky Tilson, Walter Berry.

We are a homegrown store. We sit in the middle of the community and we’re involved in everything. When I first came here 29 years ago, several churches wanted fruit baskets to give to those in need at Christmas. Those same churches still call 29 years later.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

JOHN PARSONS ASSISTANT STORE MANAGER “NEVER-ENDING QUEST.” John is store manager at Store 1296 in Rockingham, N.C. As a child, I remember going to what was then called Food Town and seeing the kids that worked there. When we would finish shopping, my mom and I would go to the car and pull up front, running over a hose that would trigger a bell causing an associate to run out front and load the groceries. I remember telling my mom, “When I am old enough, I want to do that.” A few years later Food Town became Food Lion. I was sure I would become a Food Lion team member! When I turned 16, my journey began. I started off bagging groceries and within a short period of time, management noticed my enthusiasm and I was trained to stock groceries. As a stocker, we would race to see who could be the fastest and neatest. I continued to grow and become more fascinated with the overall operation of the business. At 19, I was introduced to Watkins Tendall. He would become my mentor and great friend. Watkins brought me up in the business, teaching me dedication and perseverance. He is the reason I am still part of the Food Lion family. Through the years, I have worked with many great leaders and teachers. I remain passionate about the business. We all should be on a never-ending quest to become everything to everyone that works and shops with us.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

DOUG HULSHULT TALENT DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST “OUR LEADERSHIP TRULY CARES.” Doug started as a third-shift stocker in Erwin, Tenn., in 1986. During his career, he has managed 14 different stores and now works in talent development for the central Greensboro, N.C., area. My very first day on the job as a part-time stocker taught me a really cool lesson I have used the rest of my 31 years. I was told that the dress code was a shirt and tie, dress pants and dress shoes, so that’s what I showed up in at midnight. Of course, the rest of the stock crew had on shorts and jeans and T-shirts because it was not a clean job. My clothes were trashed after that shift. I remember thinking that when I get in a positon of authority, I need to give people clear direction. We had so many good times in the stock room and we got to see what the grocery business is all about. Some of the folks I worked with are also still with the company. In fact, one recent store manager of the year used to ride his motorcycle up the ramp into the back room with his radio blaring. That was my first introduction to Snoop Dogg’s music. I’ll give an example that encompasses my career and is why I have stuck with Food Lion as long as I have. At the beginning of this year, I had to take my 88-year-old mom to the emergency room. She was in the hospital 19 days. One day at work, I got a phone call from my brother. Mom had flatlined twice. The doctors said we needed to say our goodbyes. I had to leave a meeting and both Scott Libbey and Greg Finchum hugged me and told me they would pray for me and to take all the time I needed. Those two and several other co-workers texted and emailed asking what they could do for me. It put me at ease knowing they cared. My mom is now 89 and they’re still asking about her. Our leadership truly cares.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

RACHELLE ANTHONY HUMAN RESOURCES BUSINESS PARTNER MANAGER “WE HAVE STORES IN ALL TYPES OF COMMUNITIES.” What brought you to Food Lion? I worked as a part-time cashier in high school for extra income. When “LFPINC” (Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina) was going, it was a proud time. We wore polyester blue uniform pants and a button-up jacket with a yellow lion logo when I started out. After college, in 1991, it was a tough economic time. Food Lion was the only one who could pay me. I was at the register when we used to key in prices, before scanning. We thought it was going to be so much work to switch over, but we didn’t realize how much manual labor we were doing until scanning came about. We had races with the little label guns to put prices on every product before scanning. We used to have to take a math test to be a cashier. We didn’t have the computer systems that figure out everything. What other changes did you see? I was an auditor and we would make sure we were in compliance with what the company expected of the store. I remember learning how to use the first laptop. It was huge and bulky, and it came with a big black bag that also held paperwork. What do you like about the Food Lion of today? We have evolved into being very much customer and associate focused. We had a period where we went through a rough patch, but we have continued to rebuild. Not many other grocery retailers provide fresh meats and produce in “food deserts.” We have stores in all types of communities. Some people can’t afford our high-end competitors. That’s what I like about Food Lion.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

KEVIN LYERLY STORE MANAGER “’COUNT ON ME’ SPREADS.” Kevin manages Store 2694 in Port Wentworth, Ga. He has been with Food Lion for half of its 60 years. I started in Columbia, S.C., as a store manager trainee. Back then I was young and single, so I hadn’t really been in a grocery store that much. One of my high school classmates was a bag boy and he would talk to me about Food Lion. He inspired me to make a change from my other job. He is also still with Food Lion. I have worked as a district manager and in the store. It has given me the opportunity to meet different groups of people. For a guy that never shopped much in a grocery store, I have learned how it all works. Now, being married with kids, I realize how much cheaper and healthier it is than going out. I have also watched the shoppers and learned how they think. The “aha” moment for me was how to be a shopper myself, especially learning things like the different cuts of meat. Food Lion has learned about the customer, too. Originally, the stores were all built the same. Frozen food was on aisle one and by the time customers finished shopping, some of their items would start to thaw. I work in a new prototype store where frozen and ice cream is the last aisle in the store. I have a “Count on me” story. One of our Quality Assurance (QA) associates helped us package groceries one day because we were busy. One of the customers could not pay for groceries. The QA reached in his pocket and paid the balance. Another customer in line saw this and called the corporate office to report how great it was. To do that for a customer, that comes from the “Count on me” attitude. “Count on me” spreads.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

GARLAND SCARBORO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MANAGER “EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT NOW.” How did you come to work for Food Lion? It is the only real job I’ve had. I grew up on my grandfather’s farm. Getting a job as a bagger was great because I wanted to get out of the fields. I worked part-time while I was in high school and four years while I was in college. I was a bagger, stocker, front-end manager and store manager. Once I graduated from college, my director of operations said he would see what he could do to get me a role that aligned with my major, business finance. I got an auditing position. I worked all over, from Tennessee to Texas, and later in corporate.



Today I do a variety of things and get to work with several departments. I help the company meet the changing needs and demands of the business and work to address challenges that come with changing demographics. For example, we are looking at products, events and activities that serve diverse groups of people, like making sure we have the right products and services for people with disabilities, the Latin community, Native Americans, Asians, African-Americans and multi-racial people. We help ensure we offer associates equitable benefits, policies and procedures, align on generational differences and create inclusion and equality. Did your farming background help you in your work? It really helped me in our stores. My family and great-grandmother grew a variety of items like collards and turnip greens, so I knew how

to water them and make sure they didn’t oversaturate or get dried out. I knew the meat too. We had hogs, cows, chickens and turkeys. I didn’t have any trouble with meat or produce identification. It was a bit difficult for me to adjust to different attitudes and behaviors at the time as I moved from a rural area to a more metropolitan area. When the company created the diversity and inclusion department, I became interested. I volunteered at events like the Latin festival. From these experiences came a deep passion for diversity and inclusion. When a position came open, I got it. I like the variety and differences. How has diversity in the company changed? Food Lion did not have a great reputation with people of color when I started. I took a chance. My family shopped another brand and I applied there too, but they didn’t call me back. Not only did Food Lion hire me, they allowed me to work based on my school schedule. We had strict policies, working hours, dress codes and shift times. You didn’t see as many ear piercings, different hair colors, or varied dress styles. We had strict guidelines. Now we have flexible work schedules and so much diversity. Everything is totally different now, including the creation of business resource groups and diversity councils. I think we are 360 degrees better. I love the change.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

BILL FULLER TEAM LEAD, MERCHANDISING PLAN ANALYST “A 10-CENT RAISE.� Bill switched to Food Lion from a competing brand for a 10-cent raise in 1988. My career with Food Lion began all because of a dime. They were building Store 552 in Statesville, N.C., adjacent to the store where I worked. I was making $3.90 an hour but I really wanted $4. My manager would not give me a raise so I walked up the hill to Food Lion and was hired the same day. I was thrilled to work for a company with such great benefits. I learned quickly that Food Lion was the kind of place that promoted dedicated, loyal, hard workers and I quickly progressed from bagger to cashier to produce clerk/stocker and numerous other roles. This diversity has led me to be proud of a company that has provided me opportunity.


Pictured (L to R): Wilson Smith, Bill Fuller, Ralph Ketner.

I am reminded of shoveling water out the front of Store 552 during Hurricane Hugo in 1989. I recall long nights at Distribution Center 10 on third shift, and snow days when groceries had to ship even if you had to walk to work. From opening Store 1490 in Cornelius, N.C., through days as store manager at Store 1 in Salisbury, N.C., I have been blessed with incredible support as I have transitioned from distribution to retail operations to the customer support center. I had countless meaningful conversations and words of advice from two of my favorite shoppers at Store 1: Ralph Ketner and Wilson Smith. I will forever be indebted to them for their contributions to our great company. Thank you, Food Lion, for allowing me to do what I love to do every day. We have the best associates in the business and I am proud to be a part of it!


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

GREG FINCHUM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, RETAIL OPERATIONS “I STILL ASK MYSELF, ‘WHAT WOULD MR. KETNER DO?’” Greg started with Food Lion in 1989 as perishable manager. He sees the history of Food Lion within several milestones. The first milestone involved the sheer tenacity it took for our founders to say “we’re gonna do this” in that time period. The next milestone is when Mr. Ketner went to see a grocer in Ohio to learn his price architecture, creating “LFPINC – Lowest Food Prices in North Carolina” for Food Lion. The third milestone was the infusion of Delhaize in 1974. In the 1980s, we went through an era where we were the fastest growing and Wall Street loved us. That time built the lore of Mr. Ketner and Mr. Smith. We were growing into states with a new proposition. We were the discounters before there were discounters. The 1990s is a decade to forget, yet the decade that should always humble us. The world was changing. Wal-Mart supercenters were beginning to come out of the ground, and ABC’s PrimeTime Live changed this organization forever. That time in our history reminds us that when we are not true to our brand, things can go wrong.

Pictured (L to R): Ralph Ketner and Greg Finchum.


The 2000s brought significant change in leadership and a renewed focus. Delhaize Group acquired Hannaford and the integration of leadership brought new energy. We carried the optimism of what could be. In 2008, the whole world changed and Food Lion was at risk. The burden and expense of new brands and new markets and all the moving parts came to bear. In 2010, we formed


Delhaize America and our corporate strategy had to move from multiple banners back to being customer-centric. Early in this decade, we found ourselves in an era where the customer had choices they didn’t have before. We were motivated to have them choose Food Lion. In 2014, work began to differentiate ourselves. We landed on a brand strategy we live by today: “Easy, Fresh and Affordable... You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!” All of that keeps us going, but the last two major milestones in recent history are “Count on me” and the development of our brand narrative. For a customer to count on Food Lion every day, we’ve got to be able to count on each other. Common sense on how we act and interact with each other and the customer is what we have transformed in this organization. We want people to know that we are doing our part in the community and we are here to proudly serve their families. We are the towns and cities we serve. Today, Food Lion is closer to the guiding principles of our founders than we have been in a while. Mr. Ketner is in us, and Mr. Smith is in us, and we are proud of that and humble enough to recognize the gift they gave is called Food Lion. We operate with their names, attitudes and actions in mind. In fact, I still ask myself, “What would Mr. Ketner do?”

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

BOBBY CAREY PRODUCE SALES MANAGER “PUTTING FOOD ON THE TABLE.� Why did you choose to work for Food Lion? I started working for Food Lion in June 1993. I had been working for a different grocery store for five years before this when Robert Bowman, a perishable sales manager from Store 494 in Chesapeake, Va., asked me to come work for him. That was the best decision I ever made. What makes Food Lion special to you? Food Lion hired me when I was a single dad and sole provider for my young son. Putting food on the table and paying the bills was not easy. My food budget was $40 every two weeks. Food Lion made that possible with its extra low prices. The benefits helped a lot, too. To this day, I am very thankful to Food Lion for giving me a chance. I love my job as produce sales manager at Store 1502 in Virginia Beach, Va. Today I am married and have two more kids and Food Lion continues to help me put food on the table and save money. I shop here almost every day.

Pictured (L to R): Justin and Bobby Carey.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

JAMES KING STORE MANAGER “WE’VE GOT SWAGGER BACK IN OUR STEP.” James is store manager at Store 2224 in Seaford, Del. His email signature reads: "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -- Theodore Roosevelt The Roosevelt quote is a huge part of who I am. We don’t just sell groceries. It’s about feeding people. There’s a huge sense of pride in that. While I was at Store Manager College at headquarters, my wife went into labor. I went to the Charlotte, N.C., airport. I didn’t have bags or anything. I had never flown in an airplane and I had a phobia about it. It was scary getting on an airplane by myself. Of course, I got the window seat right over the wing. That day, I went from Salisbury N.C., to Salisbury, Md. I was there for the birth of my first son. Now, I’d rather fly than drive and my son is turning 21 soon. That’s how long I’ve been a store manager. I think we have really evolved since that time. Back then, we were a results-oriented organization. The PrimeTime story was devastating. I remember when times were bad and we had to cut labor and we had lines down the aisles. You lost that sense of pride. When you look at us now, we are a purpose-driven organization. The purpose is what the customer wants: easy, fresh and affordable. The cool thing about it is that we’re evolving. We are learning every day. Growth and profitability come along after that. In the last six, seven, eight years, we’ve got swagger back in our step. I am proud that I work for Food Lion.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

PENNY WILLIAMS CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER “BROUGHT TO TEARS.� Penny has worked in three Food Lion stores during her career, in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va. I started working for Food Lion when I was 17 years old. This has been the only job I have ever really had. I remember an incident when I was younger that helped me realize how my fellow associates display the "Count on me" spirit. A week before my birthday, Dec. 5, 2000, my mom passed away. We had to make the life-altering decision to take her off life support. I was the only one working at the time. We had no way of paying for the medical costs and funeral costs. Food Lion friends spearheaded an effort to raise thousands of dollars to help pay the funeral costs. They even made sure we had food. Even customers came by and helped. It was from several different stores. I had no idea they were keeping a collection the whole time. I am brought to tears every time I think about that rough time and how people came together to help a fellow associate in need. Their generosity and kindness have played a major role in shaping my life today. I try my best to smile each and every day and make sure I pass on the same "Count on me" spirit to my customers and fellow associates.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

TERESA MAITLAND DC4 PERISHABLE SHIPPING SUPERVISOR “I EMPHASIZE THE ‘WE.’" What has changed over the years? When I started, we used to do inventory with stickers. There was a label on each case for pulling orders. Now everything is done through voice recognition and automation. I wear a headset and have a terminal attached to my waistband. There are also constant changes in products. There used to be only certain veggies and fruits. Now there are so many more items. Who knew there were so many types of apples and oranges? Sometimes there’s food you’ve never heard of. After orders are pulled, we wrap them with shrink wrap and let the headset know, and then the headset sends a message to print labels so that we know what shipping door our pallet needs to go to. A loader puts it on the truck. It’s much more efficient now. What is your favorite part about Food Lion? I volunteered at several Food Lion Feeds events where we packed bags and bags of rice. In Goldsboro, N.C., a middle school-age girl started a food pantry and we helped her pantry as part of "The Great Pantry Makeover." I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. Food Lion plays a big role in feeding the less fortunate. It’s amazing to me. We all have to work, but it’s always nice to give back even when it’s not expected. My husband and I love giving back.


What does working for Food Lion mean to you? Working for Food Lion means I can provide my family with life’s necessities. I take pride in the fact that I give so much effort to my company. I have always felt they have invested their faith in me in return. Whether I am assisting another distribution center in New York or Virginia or in my own backyard in Dunn, N.C., I love the contagious spirit of camaraderie that is ever-present. During my 20-year tenure with Food Lion, we have experienced changes in computer systems, policies and management. We have survived natural disasters and cancer. We have embraced new life and sadly mourned death. In all of this, I emphasize the “we” because not once have I ever felt like I was going it alone. Take a look at the lion in our logo: a creature of strength, courage and leadership. These are my sentiments exactly.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

LINN EVANS CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER “GETTING A JOB HERE WAS LIKE GETTING TRADED TO YOUR HOMETOWN TEAM.” What favorite memories do you have of Food Lion? I have lots of fond memories as a child. My mom and grandmother shopped and bought me cookies at the store in Rockwell, N.C. I was like a kid in a toy store. Every week I would decide what strategy I might deploy to see how many boxes I could get. I was much more successful with my grandmother than my mom.

number of complex corporate transitions. It has been a fulfilling journey professionally.

It was part of the fabric of our life. It was the place that everyone shopped in my town.

What has made the company successful? There are a couple of things in its DNA that make it unique. When Ralph Ketner was here, it was his attention to detail, the going an extra mile for customers, and the sharing of wealth with associates that fanned our passion. In more recent years, we have tried to build solutions for customers and associates in a more caring and connected way, but it all feeds into the desire to win.

Some of Food Lion’s early leaders were rock stars. They would come to my high school and talk to us about the company, the challenges they faced and their successes. We were lucky to have people like Wilson Smith and Ralph Ketner in our small town. I looked up to them. In college, I was a finance and accounting major. I wrote papers about Food Lion and why I thought it was successful. During the late ‘70s and early to mid-‘80s, the company was wildly successful and that fueled people’s passion for Food Lion in this area. This is where I wanted to be. Getting a job here was like getting traded to your hometown team. Food Lion executives ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, July 1999. Pictured (L to R): Linn Evans, Chief Legal Officer; Laura Kendall, Vice President of Finance; Bill McCanless, Vice President of Legal Affairs; Chris Ahearn, Director of Corporate Communications; Joe Hall, COO; Richard James, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer; Dave Hogan, Director of Investor Relations.


When I got here in 1998, there was consolidation in the industry and lots of competitive pressure. I have been fortunate enough to go through that and go through the 2000s, where we were a part of a

We registered on the New York Stock Exchange and I got to go with a group to the floor. I was low man on the totem pole at that particular time, but it was cool to be there and watch them ring the bell.

Secondly, Food Lion is able to adapt to our environment. You look back at the history of Food Lion and its fantastic unbridled success. It was like “Field of Dreams.” If you build a Food Lion, they will come. Later, supercenters became the way forward and now we have home delivery and the internet. We have adapted and changed and invested in our stores and technology and people, yet still offer the right products at the right price sold by the right people. That’s not far off the formula Mr. Ketner thought up 60 years ago.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

KURTIS BENCHOFF ASSISTANT STORE MANAGER “MY GOAL IS TO BE WITH FOOD LION FOR 50 YEARS.” Kurtis started with Food Lion in 1999 at DC7 in Greencastle, Penn., and has worked in six stores in Maryland and Pennsylvania. He now works as assistant store manager at Store 2180 in Mercersburg, Pa. My journey started when I was in college as a part-time freight runner. I would go to school in the morning, start the second shift in the afternoon and work until it was time to go home to do homework. I worked whenever they asked me to work on holidays and school breaks. When I left to go to Penn State’s main campus for a while, they held my job for me. I was very grateful for that. Food Lion has always been good to me. Here in Mercersburg, Pa., we have a lot of elderly customers. Some of our customers don’t drive. I do what I can to get them what they need. There have been times where we have a regular customer call and say they have forgotten something, and we will take it to their house if we can. We are tied to the community. Now with the “Count on me” culture, our business has taken off like a rocket. We are seeing a lot of new faces and we get people from 20 miles away because they know how friendly our associates are and they like our prices. In this job, I am a jack of all trades. I hold myself to a higher standard. My goal is to be with Food Lion for 50 years, and retire with Food Lion.



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Hemant works on the Food Lion produce team in Salisbury, N.C. He and his wife and children moved to the U.S. from India in 1988 and he joined Food Lion in 2000.

Rick has been in the grocery business his entire career. He started out of college with an independent grocer in the northeast, which was later acquired by Hannaford in 1990.

I chose Food Lion due to my passion for retail, as I grew up in a retail family business in India. "Count on me" in my job is to negotiate the best possible products, cost and promotion so Food Lion can provide nothing but the best to our customers. Food Lion is going in the right direction by recognizing differences and adapting practices to be inclusive and serve our customers as best as possible.

When storms hit, Food Lion has had to learn how to navigate store operations, power outages, emergency orders and associate-related issues. I have a unique role within the organization as I have adopted the title of chief facilitator of natural disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Wendy Thompson, a store manager, played a pivotal role for Food Lion. She had the unique skill of knowing all the back roads in Lumberton, N.C., one of the most devastated cities. We gave her cell number out to our truck drivers and she became our built-in GPS system, assisting us in getting deliveries to our stores so we could serve customers. There was extaordinary impact from the storm. Associates had their cars taken down rivers or lost their entire homes. Our Lion’s Pride Foundation was able to assist hundreds of associates with gift cards. I am humbled to be part of an organization that, when faced with a crisis, rises to the top every time.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years









Ronald Johnson joined Food Lion in 2001 after working for a competing brand for 25 years.

How long have you been involved with Food Lion? I grew up with Food Town and Food Lion. My dad worked here, too. I was hired as a bookkeeper in 2001 and I became store manager within five years.

One of my favorite memories from my time at Food Lion was from a charity motorcycle ride that Food Lion employees organized. It benefited Children’s Miracle Network. We met at a store in Durham, N.C., and had a gathering to explain the rules of the road. We led a ride up to Virginia to Kerr Lake and had a cookout. Food Lion vendors gave items for door prizes so the bikers could win prizes. Bikers have a notorious rep, but are actually very generous people and do a lot of charity work. This is their way of giving back. When we remodel a store, I assist the store through the remodel. For the last few years, we have been very busy. We are remodeling and making things fresh and new. Part of what we do is immerse our associates in our business strategy, "Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" We are at the forefront in the business with all of the elements we are bringing forward right now. My Food Lion job is the most rewarding role of my 41-year career in the grocery industry.


Do people realize they are shopping in Store 1? Yes, it fascinates people. We have over 1,000 stores. Everyone flocks to the founders whenever they visit. Ronnie Smith (son of co-founder Wilson Smith) still shops here. How is the store different today? We are getting back to our roots. When Food Town started, it was all about the customer connections. We still take care of them, one customer at a time. It’s called the “Count on me” behavior now.

What are examples of “Count on Me” culture at Store 1? We have several associates in our store who have been here more than 20 years. Take Miss Diane in our deli. This is her second job. Some of our customers will only come in when she is here. They want their meat sliced by Miss Diane. 95 percent of the time, she knows their “usual,” how they want it sliced and everything. I cannot remember a day when she's called out sick. She is energetic. Another person is Arlene in produce. She knows a lot of our customers. She takes to heart the family ties. She goes to funerals and we send trays of food to the families. She is an example that it’s not just about the job for us. It’s the connections we make with our customers.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years









Patricia works at Store 1606 in Whiteville, N.C.

Ali started with Food Lion when she was in high school, left twice, but came back to Food Lion each time. Her husband, David Thao, left a competing brand to come work for Food Lion. David is a coffee and tea category analyst at the corporate office in Salisbury, N.C.

One memorable experience happened during one of the worst times in my life. I lost my mother to cancer in 2014. I missed a lot of work before and after. When I returned, I realized I had missed the cut-off time for renewing my health insurance, for my kids and myself. I called the provider immediately and after 10 days received a letter stating that I had been denied. My assistant manager told me to call Troy Leshko, vice president of the Mid-Atlantic division, and if anyone could help, it was him. I sent him an email on December 27 and got an automatic reply saying he was on vacation. The next day, he sent his condolences and told me he would look into it. On the last day of the year, the provider called to inform me that I was approved to receive insurance. Mr. Leshko continued to email me to follow up. To me, this was going above and beyond his duties, especially as he was on vacation. He showed me compassion, sympathy and understanding.

In 2007, I was four months pregnant and working in a store in Charlotte, N.C. I had to leave work early to see the doctor. My husband was in Virginia on a business trip for Food Lion. At the doctor’s office, I found out the baby was coming early. When Food Lion found out I was being admitted to the hospital, they flew my husband home on the first flight back. The whole store was crying and praying for me. Our daughter was born one pound, nine ounces. She is nine-years-old now and every day my fellow associates at the store ask how she is doing. The love we get from Food Lion is just amazing. I don’t think I could ever imagine a company more dedicated to its employees. I have been working for Food Lion a long time and I really do consider everyone I work with my family. I love the direction Food Lion is going with its “Count on me” behaviors because we treat each customer like family. Food Lion will always be dear to my heart.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

LESLIE ATKINSON BRAND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR “’COUNT ON ME’ IS THE REAL SILVER BULLET FOR US.” Leslie has worked for Delhaize America, Bloom, Bottom Dollar Food and Food Lion. I came in as director of marketing with Bloom, which was intended to reach a customer who wanted an easier shopping experience. We had personal hand-held scanners. The layout of the store was determined by consumer research. We were way before our time. I was also on the inaugural team for Bottom Dollar Food. In the beginning, we looked at the market in totality and considered customer segments, demographics and shopping habits. This helped determine which store was Food Lion, which was Bloom and which was Bottom Dollar Food. Bottom Dollar Food's intent was discount. We felt even discount stores should be a place where all customers feel respected and enjoy the shopping experience. I had a lot of passion for that brand. Today I work with Food Lion overseeing how we bring our strategy to life. Grocery is highly competitive. We have to keep evolving and stay relevant. We are offering a brand that is more functional in nature, and we also hope to create an emotional connection with people. We have found our customers want to nourish their families and set them up for success, and we believe they deserve affordable, fresh food. Our strategy, “Easy, Fresh and Affordable… You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!” helps make a connection with our customers. We are the neighborhood brand they can count on.



“Count on me” is a cultural movement and we plan to stick to it. Within the Food Lion journey, “Count on me” is the real silver bullet for us.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

ANGELA BEVERLY-KIBLER ASSOCIATE RELATIONS MANAGER "I TRY TO ADD A LITTLE SUNSHINE.” Angela, fondly known as “ABK,” joined Food Lion as one of the first retail management trainees in Charlotte, N.C. I came here straight out of college. I was afforded an opportunity to work in a business I had never experienced and grew into a leader. They put us through rigorous training and I came out as assistant manager at a Bloom store. I also worked at Bottom Dollar Food, which took me, my family, including a five-week-old, back home to my parents in Philadelphia, Pa., for a time. I do things most people would view as unpleasant. I take the complaints, investigate discrimination disputes, handle robberies and help out after the death of an associate. These instances don’t happen very often, but one is always too much. We work with associates when they are distraught. It can be mentally challenging dealing with people who are upset or grieving. You just figure out how to be of service to them. We spend time engaging with them and helping them. We turn problematic moments into ones filled with care. I try to add a little sunshine. We work with grieving families and make sure they feel like they are getting help and their benefits on time. We help them bridge the gap. I studied social work and it helped prepare me, but more than that, the experiences build on one another. Our associates are my customers. I want to make sure that attitude transcends through the company to our customers.


I am there for my team. That’s what our “Count on me” culture is all about. I care. I wouldn’t trade working for Food Lion for anything. What I love about being here is that I am allowed to show up as my authentic self. I never feel like I work for the leaders of Food Lion. I work with Food Lion. I feel respected as an individual.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

TOM ADKINS STORE MANAGER “HEALTHY COMPETITION IS GOOD.” Tom has been in the grocery business his entire career, with most experience at resort stores. He started with Food Lion in 2003 and managed the Ocean City, Md., store for five years. His current location, Store 1458 in Laurel, Del., is 28 miles from the beach, but he and his wife enjoy living just two miles from the ocean. Most of my life I have had my feet in the sand. I find myself working inland for the first time. I managed the Ocean City store for five years. That’s a record. The store is literally 300 yards from the Atlantic. When I was there, we set the single-day and weekly records for customers in the store. It was pretty incredible. People walk in right off the beach. If I had collected the sand over the years in my store, I could have built my own beach. In the resort environment, we would go from 25 associates to up to 150 in the summer. It’s a great ramp-up and it’s a lot of fun getting staffed and seeing the growth in the business. I remember tractor-trailer loads of watermelon being delivered, and an astonishing number of bananas that moved through the store. You have to be a great multi-tasker and remember to plan for it during the off-season. Food Lion staffs resort stores with local people and college students, plus international students. Eighty or so students would arrive to work through the summer. Food Lion talent acquisition associates help make it happen. Food Lion is doing a phenomenal job and having a great impact on the international community. We totally support our community and hire locals, too.



In Laurel, Del., we are the only grocery store. Our customers expect a lot because they also shop in other Food Lion stores. The other stores do a fantastic job. We try to give our customers the same great shopping experience. Healthy competition is good.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years









Jennifer is a retail pricing coordinator at Store 1392 in Wilmington, N.C.

Nick Thrasher is a store manager at Store 1174 in Summersville, W. Va.

I made my son a Food Lion onesie and found a little lion’s head so he could be a part of the relaunch in 2014 in Wilmington. It was a special thing for me and I wanted it to be special to him, too. I’m a single mom and Food Lion has been very accommodating to work around my needs. Food Lion was supposed to be a job to get me through high school and college, but 13 years later I am still here and have no plans on going anywhere! I have insurance, a 401k and a stable job.

I have worked for Food Lion since I was 16. I saw it as a temporary part-time job, but it quickly became my life. I love this company and my career so much that I moved to a different state to pursue my dream of being a store manager. I finally achieved my dream with the support and leadership of many individuals, including my first store manager who is now my director. I have been a store manager for seven months now, but it feels like it has been much longer. I have grown a lot over the years, and I owe it all to this company and what it has done for me.

Food Lion is like a second family to me. I work with a group of people I can share things with. I was nervous leaving my old store of 12 years to start over at a new store. The new store was welcoming and made me feel like I had been there for years. It has given me a position of comfort and a group of co-workers I consider family.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

KATHY WILEY MARKETING TRAFFIC MANAGER “WE LIVE UP TO OUR SLOGANS.” What do you like about working for Food Lion? Food Lion gives you opportunities to grow and move cross-functionally. People have spent their entire lives working here. It’s a good company in that people have longevity. Where I live, Food Lion is the predominant grocer. Any direction I go there’s a Food Lion within a few miles. There used to be more competition in my neighborhood; many have gone out of business, but Food Lion is still there. We have a comprehensive strategy based on our markets and competition. A lot of thought is given to the messages we convey. We are always working to show our customers what we can offer them. Food Lion’s plan to be a neighborhood store is working. The older slogan was “Good Neighbors, Great Prices.” That still holds true. Are there other slogans you like? A couple stand out. Certainly “Easy, Fresh and Affordable... You Can Count on Food Lion Everyday!” That’s what we’re all about. We are making the experience easy for customers and developing more innovation with apps and mobile access, our website and at checkout. Our product is fresh. We buy product locally. We are showing the customer we have great buys and fresh items and it’s easy to shop with us. That’s what sets us apart. Internally, I like “Count on me.” It gives each associate the opportunity to do what’s right for the business.



What stands out for you about Food Lion? I have met so many people and built networks and friendships over the years. In the community, we are helping people. Our Food Lion Feeds slogan, “No one should have to choose between dinner and rent,” is a great focus for the company. We live up to our slogans.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

DONALD F. WALSH, JR. STORE MANAGER “WE WANT TO PUT THE BEST PRODUCT ON THE TABLE.” Donald began working in the grocery business in 1973 in Pennsylvania. He currently manages Store 2123 in Selbyville, Del. Based on seeing another brand, and watching the transition within our company, Food Lion has been impressive. We have gotten back to what we represent, which is everyday low prices. Our business continues to grow in a challenging time when there are many ways to buy groceries. We focus on freshness. As an example, if I get oranges and they’re not up to our standards, we don’t put them out. We use computer ordering and don’t keep too much inventory. We do a much better job with organics than we have ever done. We want to put the best product on the table for every single consumer. We want to make anything that’s possible work for the customer. If someone is handicapped, we help them, put bags in their car or whatever it is. Berlin, Md., was selected by USA Today as one of the friendliest cities to visit in the U.S. They had a community celebration in the town. I felt like we should be represented because it was an important day for the town and our store. My wife and I set up a table and gave out water. We thanked every single person for being a great shopper with us. I am very proud to work for Food Lion. I am proud of the people who work with me in the store. I am proud to work for a company that invests in me. Food Lion is a company that treats people with respect and wants to do the right thing.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years



Pictured (L to R): Brymekia Crosby and Angela Burden.

ANGELA BURDEN CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER AND REGIONAL LEAD TRAINER “FREE GROCERY GIVEAWAYS.” Angela is a customer service manager at Store 1590 in Rock Hill, S.C. I love working for a company that has the values ours does. One of my favorite memories is when we were doing one of the "free grocery giveaways." I had a customer walk away in tears. She told me that Food Lion had a customer for life. She and her husband had just moved to South Carolina and they were struggling financially. Her husband had been the fortunate winner the previous week and she won that week. She could not stop thanking us for the kindness our company had given their family.

SARA SMITH RETAIL PRICING COORDINATOR “WE DO THIS KIND OF STUFF ALL THE TIME.” Sara is a retail pricing coordinator at Store 1216 in Thurmont, Md. In October 2014, an elderly man was having trouble getting from his truck to the store. His name was Ralph and he usually shopped in the evenings. The store manager went out to help him, and once he was inside, sat him in a desk chair from the office. Shirley McFerren and I pushed Ralph around the store in the chair until he had everything on his list. We pleaded with him to let us drive him home, but he refused. After a lot of coaxing, he agreed. Shirley and I followed him home and helped him into the house and put his groceries away. He was grateful for the kindness we showed him. Before we could leave, he took us out to his barn to see his horses and meet his stepson. They had a giant barn and probably 10 gorgeous horses. He let us pet them. We tried to keep in touch with him. After we didn’t see him for a while, we drove back to his house on our off day to check on him. He had passed away the day before. That’s not the only story I could share. That was the first of three people that Shirley and I have followed home. We do this kind of stuff all the time.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

CAROLINA PULIDO LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR “I THRIVE HERE.” Carolina is from Colombia, South America. She was hired by Food Lion to design and manage the full-cycle recruiting process and to foster diversity within the Food Lion workforce. We have made great strides in diversity. When I started, there was a lot of internal mobility. We intentionally shifted that in order to benefit from fresh perspectives. Diversity goes beyond race and culture. It’s about diversity of thought and innovation, too. My team is a good representation of diversity. We are from different generations, have disabilities, belong to the LGBTQ community and are foreign born. We bring a variety of perspectives and points of view. Our differences create great work and innovative solutions for the organization. With customer service, we created campaigns that led to a culture shift: the “Power of You” and “Count on me.” We created a campaign of conversation scenarios, videos and a board game. Today, our associates are empowered to make their own decisions for the customer. Now we are marrying another company with similar cultures. There is much opportunity to build. The prospect of being the architect for many processes and designs, that’s pretty cool. There is not one day that looks the same. I thrive here.



Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years







“FOOD LION FEEDS OUR DRIVE TO HELP OTHERS.” LaToya and Shauna work hand-in-hand at Food Lion's corporate offices in Salisbury, N.C., and submitted their story together.

Together, we have made strides in the business world and in customers' kitchens and dining rooms. Sometimes the work gets hard but it’s a small price to pay for some of the incredible things we do as a company. We make a difference in this world with lots of sweat, tears and laughter along the way.

Working for Food Lion has put us in perfect positions to work hand-in-hand within our community. Every department we have worked in has partnered with Food Lion Feeds. It feeds our drive to help others. We are making a solid effort every day to go out in our community and help our neighbors.

Shauna We have had fun experiences like getting to sit and talk to Mr. Ketner at Founder’s Hall on Harrison Road. We got to hear his thought processes. Sometimes people in higher positions have a different view on things. He was just so normal. He was down to earth.

We met by working together in Item Life Cycle (ILC), where we are responsible for the accuracy of setting up items for all categories and vendor products in the supply chain. Our friendship budded from there. In our role, we process new products through the system. We are at the beginning of the life of the product and make sure it’s received correctly at the distribution center and store, all the way to the register. We really work well together.

LaToya It was like listening to your grandpa tell you a story. Mr. Ketner cared about people. He always still had his hands in the company. He was so very approachable and it didn’t matter who you were or what you were doing. He had no problem giving his time to inspire people. He was genuine. Pictured (L to R): Shauna Nargi, Ralph Ketner, Latoya Tucker.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years



A customer and Kasey Mareth.







Kasey is a customer service manager at Store 735 in Oakboro, N.C.

Linda has worked in the grocery industry, and human resources, for more than 20 years. She joined Delhaize America in 2013 and became Director of Human Resources at Food Lion in 2016.

In January 2011, I was an unemployed college student who had been laid off six months before. I was looking for a job where I could be part of something bigger and where I could meet new people and work around my school schedule. When I started working at Food Lion, I remember asking customers to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network. It’s fun when some customers would tell me their life story in return. That’s the part of my job that I love: connecting with customers and knowing them by name. A lot of our customers have been coming to Food Lion ever since they were kids and they have really gotten a kick out of growing with each store. I love seeing how customers react to the little changes we make in store. It lets me know they care just as much as I do. It’s a great day when I come to work and a customer stops to chat with me or they bring me a piece of cake they made with ingredients from our store. For me, Food Lion is about customers who turn into friends and family.

I previously worked for a grocer headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., of which Food Lion was a competitor. When I visited a store in Virginia, where I grew up, it felt different than the Food Lion I remembered. You could tell there was something positive happening. It felt right for me. Later, when I came to work here, I felt connected quickly. You can feel this culture in our stores. A lot of companies have things they say they stand for. Here at Food Lion we talk a lot about care. It’s not just words. It’s real. Care shows up in every single thing we do. I am very impressed with what Food Lion has been able to accomplish in a short time. We keep evolving every single year. We are a progressive company. We are forward-looking about making an impact on our communities and driving our business. You can have a long career here, retail or corporate. It’s a great time to be a part of Food Lion.


Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years









Chris started with Food Lion in 2013 as a store manager at Store 2153 in New Castle, Del.

Vanity was recruited by Food Lion as an intern in the diversity and inclusion department through her involvement with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), where she was named Miss CIAA in 2014.

I have worked with other brands and Food Lion definitely puts the customer first. A lot of companies say that but don’t execute. I often hear compliments that the store is clean and not cluttered. People can find what they need. One thing we've enjoyed since it's recent launch is our mobile app. Our customers all walk the aisles with their phones. Everything is about convenience nowadays. It’s going to be a big edge up on our competition. We continue to be strong at what we do, plus we use technology. We have a regular customer named Goldie. She is in her eighties. She lives by herself across the street. She got mugged once, so a lot of times we have an employee walk with her or I give her a ride. She buys mostly produce, deli and prepared foods and cat litter. One time there was a storm and her caregiver didn’t show up. She really needed groceries. We delivered them to her. She’s a wonderful lady. It’s the right thing to do.


Food Lion has partnered with CIAA for over 20 years. It’s a year-round partnership, where we offer basketball tournament-week activities, and awards and honors for school and community leaders, teachers and students. It is awesome to have the opportunity to continue my connection with CIAA. We also work with the NAACP, Urban League, Pride festival, Asian and Latin chambers and other events. Food Lion connects people back to our business, whether shopping with us or working for us. I have always shopped at Food Lion and my brother and mother have both worked for the company. I never thought I would end up working here. It was a great surprise. I thought about the Peace Corps or learning about agriculture in other cultures because I wanted to have an impact on different cultures. I have that opportunity with Food Lion.

Chapter 4: 60 Stories for 60 Years

ABBY FULLER ASSISTANT STORE MANAGER “TREAT OTHERS LIKE YOU WANT TO BE TREATED.” Why did you choose to work for Food Lion? I met Stephen Crouchley from Food Lion Talent Acquisition at a career fair. He was welcoming and I had a good feeling about it. I had not thought about working in the grocery industry.

when everyone from all angles is supporting you and you get different perspectives from all over the company. They have unique experiences and have a lot to share, especially to someone who just graduated from college.

I graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. I studied business management and supply management.

When and if I get a corporate position, I will have a real understanding of the retail culture. It’s good to understand so that when you are leading, you understand how your decisions will have a domino effect. It makes a difference in being able to be a humble leader.

I was born in Oregon and lived in Tennessee before coming to North Carolina, so I didn’t really know Food Lion. I knew it had low prices and that was about it. When I went to Salisbury, I liked how Food Lion interviewed in teams. They were transparent about the company’s core values. It was meaningful and you could tell they really upheld them. At other companies, people talk about their values and culture, but it didn’t feel the same.


Four of us were chosen for the retail management team. We trained in each department, learning the company from the ground up. We were immersed with associates and came to understand the company that way. Retail management training was unique, and I trained at different stores in the Durham/Cary region in North Carolina. It was a great experience to learn all aspects of Food Lion. The leadership was very supportive. It makes you feel good

What does “Count on me” mean to you? That was another thing that drew me to the company. It’s innate for me and I have always thought you should treat others like you want to be treated, especially in a team environment. If you understand what “Count on me” is, you should be living it every day. Do you have a favorite memory from the last year? We taught kids at an elementary school in Durham, N.C., how to eat healthy. There were some at-risk youth there. We went to a store first and bought fruits and vegetables. We cut it into bitesize pieces and made trays and took them to school for lunch. A lot of the kids didn’t know what a mango was. They were so thankful. It was a really good experience. I came back realizing we can’t take things for granted, even fruits and vegetables.


Chapter 3: Nourishing Our Communities Together

Food Lion leaders and associates cut the ribbon at Food Lion's store in Washington, N.C., August 2017. 114

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Books Collet, Emmanuel, Delhaize “Le Lion,” Grocers since 1867, Lesaffre (Tournai, Belgium), 2003, 218 p. Ketner, Ralph W., Five Fast Pennies, Salisbury, N.C.: R.W. Ketner, 1994, 227 p. Wineka. Mark, and Jason Lesley, Lion’s Share: How Three Small-Town Grocers Created America’s Fastest-Growing Supermarket Chain and Made Millionaires of Scores of Their North Carolina Friends and Neighbors, Asheboro, N.C.: Down Home Press, 1991, 265 p. Images Special thanks to Linda Ketner, H.K. “Hap” Roberts, Cheryl Foster of Open Road Productions, the Salisbury Post and The William Bird Postcard Collection for sharing images with Food Lion for inclusion in A Neighbor to Count On. Periodicals Cover Story, “The Lion Wakes.” Progressive Grocer, December 1, 2004 Cover Story, "Catastrophic." Chattanooga Times Free Press, April 29, 2011 Food Town Supplement, November 1997, Food Lion 40th Anniversary Food Town Employee Handbook, 1980 Food Lion newsletter, The Profile, January 1987 Various articles from the Salisbury Post Videos “Lessons in Leadership.” Open Road Media Productions in association with Catawba College and Food Lion, prod. Dr. Pamela Thompson and Cheryl K. Foster, Editors/Content Development Courtney James, Specialist, Media Relations, Food Lion Christy Phillips-Brown, Director, External Communications & Community Relations, Food Lion Pressley Peters, Senior Writer, Ketchum Proofreaders Melinda Dabbs Felicia Eagle Matt Harakal Benny Smith Special thanks to associates who submitted stories, shared photographs and memorabilia and made themselves available to share their stories and knowledge of Food Lion. 115

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