K-VA-T Food City

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For other uses, see Food City.
Food City
Industry Retail
Headquarters Abingdon, Virginia
Number of locations
Products Dairy, deli, frozen foods, grocery, meat, produce, snacks, floral, fuel, video, pharmacy
Slogan The Food Experts
Website foodcity.com

Food City is a U.S. supermarket chain with stores located in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. It offers the house labels "Food Club," "Top Crest", "ValuTime", "Food City Fresh!", "Food City Premium", "Full Circle", "Domestix", "Electrix", "Academix", "Pet Club", and "World Classics" many of which are part of the Topco corporate brand program.[1] Food City is also the exclusive distributor of regional favorites such as "Kay's Ice Cream", "Terry's Snacks", "Kerns Bread", "Lay's Meats",[2] along with "Chuck Wagon Dog Food".[3]

It is owned by K-VA-T Food Stores, a privately held family and employee-owned corporation (only 13% via ESOP)[4] headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia.[5] K-VA-T Food Stores owns the Food City Distribution Center (formerly Mid-Mountain Foods), a distribution center K-VA-T helped form in 1974 and acquired full control of in 1998, Misty Mountain Spring Water, LLC, a producer of bottled water, as well as limited-assortment grocery stores named Super Dollar Discount Foods, Food City Express and Gas'N Go convenience stores, and a Food City Wine and Spirits liquor store. Many of their grocery stores have their own fuel stations, with the Gas'N Go branding.


K-VA-T Food Stores traces its history to 1955, when company founder Jack Smith opened his first 8,800-square-foot (820 m2) 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, 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 they 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 43-store White Stores chain based out of Knoxville, TN, more than doubling the size of the company.

In 1998, Food City acquired the 11-store Kennedy Piggly Wiggly chain as well as full control of Mid-Mountain Foods, the current K-VA-T distribution center. The following year, Winn-Dixie pulled out of the Knoxville market and sold their seven stores to Food City. In February 2006, Food City announced the purchase of eight Bi-Lo locations in Knoxville, Maryville, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.[6]

K-VA-T celebrated its 50th anniversary November 17, 2005 by opening a 46,500 square feet (4,320 m2) store in Vansant, Virginia, just outside of Grundy. Three years later, in October 2008, K-VA-T opened its 100th store in Rogersville, Tennessee. The company celebrated this event by sending a special commemorative I-beam to every store in the company where employees signed it as a goodwill gesture for the new store.[7] The beam sits above the entrance way in the 100th store.

In December 2010, K-VA-T purchased Old Town Market in Tazewell, TN as a replacement store for their New Tazewell, TN location.[8]

The largest Food City ever opened in February 2012 in Bristol, Virginia. The store is 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2) and 8,000 square feet (740 m2) on the second floor.[citation needed]

In August 2012, K-VA-T opened its first Food City Wine and Spirits liquor store, in Pikeville, Kentucky.[9]


K-VA-T's corporate operations were based in Grundy, Virginia from its inception in 1955 until it moved to Abingdon, Virginia in the 1970s. Over the course of the years, the company's operations were spread out over five different buildings throughout Abingdon and Washington County.[10]

In June 2011, K-VA-T announced that a new corporate headquarters would be built in Abingdon, Virginia on the former site of the Johnston Memorial Hospital.[11] The building was anticipated to be a $20 million investment that would create 25 new jobs and open in 2013. Financial incentives totaling $6 million were allocated for the project from multiple sources including the Virginia Tobacco Commission, Washington County, and the town of Abingdon.[12] The conditions for the incentives were that "K-VA-T’s investment in the building must top $20 million, and the company must continue to employ at least 375 people, with a quarterly payroll of more than $4 million." [12]

In October 2013, K-VA-T officially consolidated its corporate operations into the new headquarters building in downtown Abingdon, Virginia at 1 Food City Circle. The four-story, 140,000 square feet (13,000 m2), facility sits on 17 acres and used parts of the old building in the construction of the new one, with the parking garage receiving renovations to continue its use.[10]

Super Dollar Discount Foods[edit]

In 2008, K-VA-T opened its first limited-assortment grocery store named Super Dollar Discount Foods in Wytheville, Virginia. Over the course of the years, the new format has grown by opening up new locations and converting some older, smaller, Food City locations in Pikeville, Kentucky, Prestonsburg, Kentucky, Rogersville, Tennessee, and Grundy, Virginia. As of November 2013, there are 10 Super Dollar Discount Foods locations, with 4 locations with Gas'N Go fuel stations.[13][14]

Convenience stores[edit]

In April 2012, after purchasing a former Exxon branded station in Coeburn, Virginia, K-VA-T opened its first Food City Express branded convenience store to complement their existing grocery store.[15] In June 2014, K-VA-T opened a second location in a former RaceWay convenience store in Elizabethton, Tennessee under their Gas'N Go branding.[16] Another Gas'N Go convenience store location was constructed and opened in Morristown, TN in August 2014.

Defunct banners[edit]

Valu Foods[edit]

K-VA-T had converted their Sweetwater, TN location into Valu Foods, a discount warehouse store. This location closed in 1999.

While It Lasts[edit]

K-VA-T had closed one of their two Sevierville, TN location in 2005, but reopened this location a few months later under the While It Lasts banner. This location was used as a close out store for the various products and brands from the Bi-Lo stores acquisition that they did not carry in their regular Food City locations. It closed in 2006.

Community involvement[edit]

Due to their charitable activities and strong ties to their local economies, Food City received Supermarket News's Community Service Award for 2008.[17]

Steven C. Smith, president and chief executive officer for K-VA-T was named 2009 Grocer of the Year by Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association during their annual convention. TGCSA selects one outstanding Tennessee retailer who exemplifies the high standards of integrity and efficiency upon which the organization was founded to be named Grocer of the Year.[18]

In February 2013, Food City received the Dale Carnegie Leadership Award which recognizes a commitment to excellent service and quality products; dedication to employee growth; recognition of employee value; and a sense of obligation which brings a high level of community involvement.[19]

Appalachia Santa Train[edit]

In 1992, Food City began working with the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce and CSX Transportation to solicit donations of toys, candy, clothes and money for the Appalachia Santa Train, a 110-mile (180 km) trip through the Appalachian Mountains via train that distributes over 15 tons of gifts to children. Food City’s involvement has grown to the point where around 200 volunteers work on the project each year.[20]

Locally grown produce and eggs[edit]

Food City purchases a great deal of their produce within their trade area, providing additional support to the regions in which they operate. In 2006, Food City purchased in excess of $5,000,000 in locally grown produce from a number of local farms, including those in Grainger, Blount, Hawkins, Unicoi, Jefferson and Sullivan counties in Tennessee; Scott and Carroll counties and through Appalachian Harvest co-op for locally grown organics from the growers in Scott County, Virginia.[21] In July 2011 Food City announced that 95 percent of its eggs will come from Dutt & Wagner of Virginia, Inc., a family-operated egg business that produces and distributes its eggs from Abingdon, Virginia. The remaining 5 percent of eggs are considered specialty products such as Egg Beaters.[22]

School Bucks[edit]

In 1990, Food City began their Apples for the Students program. From its inception until 2007, the program allowed students to collect specially marked Food City register receipts in exchange for computers, software, sporting goods, calculators, teaching tools, audio/visual and other educational materials for their schools. In 2007, the program went completely electronic, allowing customers to link their Food City loyalty cards to the particular school they wish to donate to. This advancement also allowed schools to check totals online. In 2009, Food City rebranded its Apples for the Students program as Food City School Bucks.[citation needed]

Since the program's inception, Food City has awarded in excess of 14 million dollars in educational equipment and tools to over 800 participating area schools.[23]


Since 1987, Food City has been the official sponsor of the Tim Irwin/Food City Bass Tournament held in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley and has raised over $530,000 since 1990.[24]

Food City sponsored NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt from 1995 through 1999.

Food City sponsors two NASCAR events at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Spring Sprint Cup race, the Food City 500 and the late Summer Xfinity Series race, the Food City 300. The Food City deal, which began in 1992, is currently the longest race entitlement sponsor deal in the Sprint Cup Series. As part of the renewal and the 20th anniversary announcement in 2011, following the death in 2010 of track President and General Manager Jeff Byrd, the 20th anniversary race was renamed the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City.[25] The 2015 race was renamed the Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes And Stand Up To Cancer.[26] Along with these races, Food City holds the Food City Family Race Nights in Knoxville and Bristol, Tennessee the week preceding the NASCAR events.

In 1995, Food City signed on as a sponsor of Dale Earnhardt's #3 Winston Cup Series Chevrolet race car. They renewed the sponsorship in 1997 for two more years with a bonus sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr's Busch Series Chevrolet race car. The Food City/Earnhardt combination captured seven series wins and the 1998 championship during the sponsorship deal.[27]

From 2005-2007, Food City also sponsored the former Hooters Pro Cup event at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Food City 150.[28][29]

Prior to 2010, Food City was a primary sponsor of the Web.com Tour Knoxville Open golf tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee, which benefits several charities.[30]

In September 2014, it was announced that Food City would sponsor the Battle Of Bristol football game in 2016 between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies.[31]

JDRF, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation[edit]

Annually beginning in April, K-VA-T sends all of its stores, JDRF kits, and the stores all ask for donations from the public the entire month of April, K-VA-T also makes contributions to JDRF as well, but currently this year K-VA-T has raised over $120,000 for JDRF.

Race Against Hunger[edit]

This is another annual fundraiser done by K-VA-T beginning in August, stores raise money to donate Thanksgiving meals to local homeless shelters, and the financially unstable people in the community.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society[edit]

Another annual fundraiser done by K-VA-T, stores sell balloons to raise money for cancer research.

Animal shelters[edit]

Each year Food City stores begin taking donations for supplies to send to local animal shelters, our stores have employees make bags full of dog food, cat food, and other necessities for our animal shelters.


As of April 2015, K-VA-T operates 103 retail food outlets (93 Food City stores and 10 Super Dollar Discount Foods stores) along with 3 convenience stores, and 1 liquor store (Food City Wine & Spirits) in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The chain includes 78 in-store pharmacies and 81 fuel stations.[32][33][34][35][36][4]

Food City Arizona[edit]

Food City in Arizona is not owned by K-VA-T Food Stores; it is owned by Bashas'.


  1. ^ Topco Corporate Brands, Topco.com accessed on February 12, 2009
  2. ^ Food City adds another iconic brand, Knoxnews.com accessed on June 5, 2008
  3. ^ Nickles Banana Flip is back, Tricities.com accessed on April 12, 2012
  4. ^ a b "Food City". retail-merchandiser.com. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  5. ^ Steve Smith says Food City committed to improved health, wellness throughout region, Tricities.com accessed on April 15, 2011
  6. ^ Food City Announces Plans to Acquire Knoxville Area BI-LO Supermarkets, press release dated February 17, 2006
  7. ^ Lowe, Brandon (2008-10-01). "Food City banking on Union County growth with new store". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  8. ^ Food City buys out Old Town Market, will remodel building, claiborneprogress.net dated December 2010
  9. ^ Food City unveils big changes, news-expressky.com dated August 31, 2012
  10. ^ a b Food City hosts tour, open house at new headquarters, tricities.com dated November 21, 2013
  11. ^ Former Johnston Memorial to become Food City HQ, tricities.com dated June 3, 2011
  12. ^ a b K-VA-T to receive $6 million incentive, tricities.com dated December 26, 2011
  13. ^ Super Dollar: Gas'N Go, superdollarstores.com accessed November 22, 2013
  14. ^ Super Dollar: About Us, superdollarstores.com accessed November 22, 2013
  15. ^ "Food City Express to open in Coeburn, Va". tricities.com. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  16. ^ "Food City to open new gas station, store in city". Elizabethton Star. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  17. ^ Role Model, Supermarket News accessed on March 8, 2008
  18. ^ Food City President and CEO Named Tennessee Grocer of the Year, press release dated April 20, 2009
  19. ^ Food City employees, customers share in Dale Carnegie Leadership Award, dalecarnegietn.com dated February 18, 2013
  20. ^ http://www.kentucky.com/2010/11/19/1532567/santa-train-starts-its-68th-run.html, Lexington Herald-Leader dated November 19, 2010
  21. ^ Food City Features Locally Grown Produce, press release dated June 25, 2007
  22. ^ Food City introduces locally produced eggs in their stores, tricities.com dated July 28, 2011
  23. ^ Food City Kicks Off School Bucks Program, press release dated August 22, 2012
  24. ^ Alumni Hall of Fame Honors Judge Tim Irwin, press release dated May 2, 2009
  25. ^ Bristol Sprint Cup race renamed to honor Jeff Byrd
  26. ^ April 19 Bristol race renamed to honor FOX Sports' Steve Byrnes, foxsports.com website, April 10, 2015.
  27. ^ Tales of Bristol Motor Speedway, Tales of Bristol Motor Speedway by David McGee
  28. ^ 2004 Food City 150
  29. ^ 2007 Food City 150
  30. ^ Knoxville Open's future in doubt; Food City drops sponsorship, WBIR-TV website, February 8, 2010.
  31. ^ "Official countdown clock up for future Virginia Tech game at Bristol Motor Speedway". wdbj7. 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-09-10. 
  32. ^ "Seymour Food City Expansion Underway". foodcity.com. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  33. ^ "Find Your Local Store". foodcity.com. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  34. ^ "Find Your Local Super Dollar". superdollarstores.com. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  35. ^ "Food City Express to open in Coeburn, Va.". tricities.com. 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  36. ^ "Food City unveils big changes". news-expressky.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 

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