The Bi-Lo grocery store that has been in Hixson for at least 25 years closed its doors Tuesday evening to make way for a 57,000-square-foot Super Bi-Lo that will host a grand opening ceremony this morning.
The new Hixson superstore is the final piece of a $40 million capital plan that includes remodeling of stores in Ooltewah, East Ridge and Red Bank.
“Super is not about size,” said Joyce Smart, spokeswoman for Bi-Lo. “Super Bi-Lo has expanded product offerings in several different areas.”
Ms. Smart pointed out that the larger floor space allows Bi-Lo to offer more products such as an array of meats, cheeses and produce not offered in regular Bi-Lo stores. In addition, there are several self-serve kiosks which offer digital photo developing or provide shoppers with recipes to meet special dietary needs.
Staff Photo by Tim Barber-- Leon Prater installs a wireless antenna for sign control in the 5600 block of Hixson Pike as the new Super Bi-Lo is being prepared for today’s opening.
“Our customers deserve the nicest stores as possible to shop in, and that’s what we are trying to provide,” Ms. Smart said.
The new store at 5604 Hixson Pike will open following a ribbon-cutting ceremony and will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
David Leatherwood, store manager, said the new store is much better than the old, dated store at 5414 Hixson Pike that he managed for 25 years.
“This store has so much more to offer,” he said. “There are so many products that we couldn’t carry in the other store we can carry here because of its size.”
“There are so many products that we couldn’t carry in the other store we can carry here because of it’s size.”
— David Leatherwood, store manager at Hixson Super Bi-Lo
Wal-Mart began expanding its superstores in Chattanooga several years ago, and Publix Super Markets opened a store last year in East Brainerd with construction under way for a store in Hixson and another planned for Ooltewah.
Bi-Lo spokesman Curtis Johnson said his company’s aggressive expansion is not a reaction to the increasing Wal-Mart and Publix presence here. He said it is a systematic plan of growth that began in other areas and is now making its way here.
In addition to an expanded product-line, Bi-Lo officials said, the superstores will offer enhanced customer service to include a drive-through pharmacy, full-service floral and meat and seafood departments, organic and natural food selections and cafe seating with Wi-Fi.
“With Super Bi-Lo we have really focused on what matters to our customers,” said John Symons, executive vice president of store operations. “We want every customer to shop with confidence, we want them to delight in the products we offer and we want them to have an exceptional experience every time they enter one of our stores.”