Tri-Cities residents are beginning to sense something changing in the grocery segment of their area economy. New stores are opening with rumors running rampant of more stores coming soon. Times News.net covered the January grand opening of Aldi in Kingsport. There were hundreds of curious shoppers lined up to experience the German-owned store and its unique way of doing business.
Aldi carries a few name brands items, but most of the products are brands exclusive to their store. Many of these store brands are manufactured by the same companies as the name brands, but made exclusively for Aldi. Refundable buggy rental and self-serve grocery bagging in your own bags are new to grocery shoppers in Kingsport and Johnson City who have discovered Aldi.
Price Less Foods has been quietly expanding throughout the Tri-Cities, too. (Price Less does not publish a weekly sales advertisement.) In the photo above, the soon-to-be open Bristol, Virginia, store is shown. It is opening in the old Food Lion building on Lee Highway. A visit with the crew doing the remodeling confirmed it was Price Less Foods opening there.
Formerly IGA Foods, Price Less also has a rather strange way of selling groceries. They compute the total price of the groceries they offer, including transportation and labor costs, and that price is posted on the display in the store as “cost.” At the check-outs, a 10% charge is levied on the customer, which is what the store claims is a 10% above cost pricing policy. One way of measuring the impact the store is having is the fact that Food City, the leading grocery retailer in the area, has been publishing whole-page advertisements against Price Less and their 10% “tax” on customers in their sales ads.
Dollar General Market is doing a tremendous volume of business as the only grocery store for miles in the Indian Springs community, outside of Kingsport. The area, which boasts Crockett’s Ridge golf course, is quickly growing with a large amount of new construction. Rumors are circulating that Price Less Foods is considering building a store somewhere in Indian Springs, too, to tap in on Dollar General’s monopoly in the area. This is only a rumor, however. There is also anticipation that Dollar General Market is also building another store on the other end of Kingsport, but, again, this is also a rumor.
Regardless, the addition of more grocery stores only will provide more options for Tri-Cities residents and make prices more competitive. Another positive result of this competition among grocery retailers is that those who shop at the local Walmart stores can benefit, too. By taking part in Walmart’s Price Catcher online app, shoppers will automatically get the lowest price available to them.