Cost For New Food City Store In Rhea County Rises To $7 Million From $4.5 Million In 2021

  • Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Representatives from Food City and the Southeast Tennessee Development District came before the Rhea County Commission to request a real estate PILOT program for construction of a new Food City at Able Drive and State Route 378.
Stephen Spangler, executive vice president for Real Estate Development for K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company for Food City, came before the commission along with Jonathan Connell of the Southeast Tennessee Development District.


Mr. Spangler said the cost for a new store had risen from $4.5 million in 2021 when they first bought the property on Able Drive to now an estimated $7 million.

Mr. Spangler told commissioners the new store would be around 54,000 square feet - some 10,000 square feet larger than the current Food City is. It will also include five pump islands for a total of 10 gas dispensers. The new store will also include an expanded meat and seafood department and a Starbucks.

County Executive Jim Vincent also introduced Dayton City Mayor Hurley Marsh. County Executive Vincent said the city of Dayton had met earlier in the day at a called meeting and also approved to start the paperwork for a PILOT tax break for the project.

Mr. Connell said that this would just be the start of the PILOT as under state law there had to be a public hearing on the matter before the County Commission and the Dayton City Council could approve the PILOT. He said his office would draw up the necessary paperwork and bring it up next month.

Food City acquired the Dayton Bi-Lo store in 2016. In addition to the larger store, Mr. Spangler said that Food City would be adding some 72 new full and part-time jobs as well. He added that Food City had just recently built new stores in Kimball and Athens and both stores were already exceeding income expectations.

K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. traces its history to 1955, when company founder Jack Smith opened his first 8,800-square-foot Piggly Wiggly store in Grundy, Virginia, with the help of three special stockholders: his father, Curtis Smith, uncle, Earl Smith and cousin, Ernest Smith. In 1963, Mr. Smith added a second store in South Williamson, Kentucky, followed by a newly constructed third location in Pikeville, Kentucky, in 1965, and a store in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, in 1967.

The company continued to grow steadily until 1984 when it acquired Quality Foods, a 19-store chain (founded in 1918), that operated under the Food City name. The Smiths adopted Food City as the new nameplate, along with its heritage, for all of their stores going forward. In 1989, Food City purchased the 37-store White Stores chain based out of Knoxville, more than doubling the size of the company.

K-VA-T celebrated its 50th anniversary Nov. 17, 2005, by opening a 46,500 square feet store in Vansant, Virginia, just outside Grundy. Three years later, in October 2008, K-VA-T opened its 100th store in Rogersville, Tennessee.

In October 2013, K-VA-T officially consolidated its corporate operations into a new headquarters building in downtown Abingdon, Virginia, at 1 Food City Circle. The four-story, 140,000 square foot facility sits on 17 acres and uses parts of the old building in the construction of the new one, with the parking garage receiving renovations to continue its use

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