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This story was updated on Monday, April 12, 2021, at 4:19 p.m. with additional information.

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Staff photo / The existing Food City on Ringgold Road in East Ridge will be replaced next year by a new and bigger supermarket nearby.

Food City plans to relocate its East Ridge grocery store next year into a new and bigger supermarket that will include a Gas 'N Go fuel station, a food cafe and a broader selection of produce and grocery items.

Steve Smith, president of Food City, said the grocery chain has been looking for years to replace its store at 3715 Ringgold Road, which was originally a Red Food supermarket that Food City acquired when it bought the Chattanooga area Bi-Lo stores in 2015.

"We've been working to replace this store since we bought it over five years ago, and now we're excited to be planning on literally moving across the street with our new store," Smith said Monday. "This project will result in well over a hundred new area jobs and bring a Starbucks café to East Ridge, along with some other exciting new conveniences and services. "

The new 54,000-square-foot supermarket is expected to be built and open in the summer of 2022 and will replace the existing 34,000-square-foot Food City store on Ringgold Road.

The move comes three years after Food City previously replaced its other East Ridge supermarket located near Interstate 75 with another bigger grocery outlet and Gas 'N Go just over the state line in Georgia on Highway 41 at 6723 Ringgold Road.

With its added services, officials expect the new store in East Ridge will draw shoppers from well beyond the city of East Ridge, including the Brainerd area, Missionary Ridge and parts of North Georgia.

K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company of Food City, plans to develop the store on the site of a former bowling area at 3636 Ringgold Road. If approved by the city, the store development will be aided by a portion of the sales taxes the new store is projected to generate as allowed for in the border tax zone around Exit 1 on I-75 in East Ridge.

East Ridge Mayor Brian Williams said he expects the new supermarket "will be a catalyst for additional new development in the West end of East Ridge.

" The additional services, products, and jobs the new store will provide to our area is incredible," Williams said in an announcement of the new store. "We have been diligently working to attract and recruit new development in this area."

Williams said the East Ridge Industrial Development Board will meet Thursday and the City Council will meet on April 22nd to consider the project.

"The Border Region has been tremendous for our city," Williams said Monday. "This incentive initiated the foundation development with the initial Bass Pro store and has continued amazing growth in East Ridge and now we are seeing new development on the West end of our city.

The new Food City will include an in-store bakery and deli offering fresh-baked goods, deli meats, cheeses, hot foods, large café seating area, fireplace, hickory smoker, pizza oven, fresh food bar offering a variety of soup, salad and fruit selections, and full-service catering and event planning. In-house meat cutters will be available to hand-cut steaks and fresh meat to order. Expanded grocery, frozen food, and produce departments will provide a broader selection of gourmet, international, and specialty items.

The Food City Floral Boutique will be staffed with a designer seven days per week, offering a full assortment of fresh-cut floral arrangements, bouquets, gift items, and more. Rapid checkout service will be provided by six check-out lanes and seven self-checkouts in the new store. The location will also feature a Food City Pharmacy, equipped with a private consultation room and drive-thru window, Food City Gas N' Go including diesel fuel, GoCart curbside pick-up, and Starbucks café.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, Food City operates 134 retail supermarkets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia, and soon-to-be Alabama. The company has more than two dozen supermarkets in the Chattanooga market and is preparing to build a new store downtown on South Broad Street.

Food City's real estate staff also is visiting Chattanooga on Thursday to consider other store locations, especially in the Brainerd and East Chattanooga area where most grocery stores have closed.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreeprss.com or at 757-6340

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