The crowds arrived early and were ready to shop when Food Lion roared into town and opened at 8 a.m. last Wednesday morning.
Greeted by dozens of anxious associates, shoppers entered the new 37,000 square foot super market to find Food Lion’s brand new prototype grocery store and aisles of fresh produce, canned goods, breads, pastries and everything in between in downtown Dawsonville.
“We’re more than your average grocery store,” said General Manager Curry Dalton, who cut the celebratory ribbon to officially open the store. “We want to be side-by-side with Dawson County.”
As an indication that Food Lion has made Dawsonville home, the Food Lion Corporation made a donation of 200 meals to the county’s food pantry, RIC Rack to assist with feeding families in the community.
“We couldn’t be here today without the help of a lot of people in this community,” Dalton said, as he helped RIC Rack’s Ken Newell and Jerry Tragesser pack the boxed meals into a van.
Curry said being a part of the community is important to Food Lion and its employees.
Newell said Food Lion’s assistance could not have come at a better time.
“We are seeing more and more families come into the food pantry every week. This donation is going to help us feed 200 more families,” he said.
Food Lion has also entered into an agreement to make periodic donations of breads, produce and fresh meats to the pantry.
“Those are some items we also never are able to have,” Newell said.
Dalton said the welcome Food Lion has received from the community has been overwhelming and such a blessing.
“This county ... I’m breath taken about the support we’ve had coming here to Dawsonville. I would rather build this store, brand new prototype Food Lion, in northeast Georgia in no other county than Dawson County,” he said.
Prior to the official grand opening, Food Lion hosted a “Dignitary Night” for all the individuals who helped Food Lion carve its way into the local community.
“This night was by invitation only to honor and reward those who work in the community for their efforts of making Food Lion possible for Dawsonville,” said Aaron Carlisle, Food Lion director of operations.
With smiles and excitement on every face, those who were present at the Tuesday evening ‘sneak peek’ enjoyed seeing everything that the new addition to the community has to offer.
“People are looking forward to having a nice place to shop that will have good deals without having to travel to 400,” said Nicky Gilleland, superintendent of Dawson County schools.
Mayor Joe Lane Cox and wife, Judy, were just a few of the many people present last Tuesday night. “We are so excited that Food Lion is here,” said Judy.
“We have been working on this since 2004,” said Mayor Cox. “We are pleased with the store.”
Almost everyone present during the ‘sneak peek’ event expressed excitement and thankfulness for the store’s opening. Being able to shop local was another point that was mentioned several times throughout the evening.
“We needed it here in town,” said Newell. “Folks will no longer have to drive to 400 to do their grocery shopping, it will now be available here in town.”