More than a grocery store: Lowes Foods brings community back to the table

2,500 local products, in-store taproom, fresh cakery and more

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This post is in partnership with Lowes Food. GVLtoday editorial intern Jeremy Whetherton contributed to this article. Photos by Mary Willson. 

As soon as you enter the newest Lowes Foods grocery store in Greer, one thing is clear: There isn’t any grocery store in America quite like it.

After entering the front doors, shoppers can take a right and grab a fresh cup of joe, or take a left and opt for on-tap beer to sip on during their shopping. There isn’t a wrong decision.

This is just one example of how the store is actively practicing their mission of “bringing community back to the table.”

“The Carolinas are home for us, so this isn’t just about opening a store. This is about continuing to expand our family and the growth of Greer and how Greer is. It ties into our values and who we are, and it’s just a great combination for us,” Tim Lowe, president of Lowes Foods, said.

It’s a mission that has been at the forefront of everything they do since their 1954 founding in Wilkesboro, N.C. The Greer location, which opened Friday, is the 98th store for the supermarket chain in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

The store features 13 “concepts,” which is the term coined by the store for their specialized counters of services.

At the in-store café, Boxcar Coffee & Chocolates, hand-roasted coffee is available for purchase and specialty drinks are served. Plus, hand poured Belgian chocolates, among other chocolate barks, are sold.

The Beer Den has eight rotating taps of local craft beers and wines in pints or plastic, glass or aluminum growlers. Drinkers can take a break and sip in the South Carolina-themed lounge area (complete with a palmetto tree murals). Lowes Foods is planning to brew its own beer in their next location, which will be in Greenville. Currently, the Greer location has Quest’s Golden Fleece IPA and Thomas Creek Octoberfest, among others.

Directly next to the Beer Den is Sammie’s, a one-of-a-kind sandwich shop that has different types of sandwiches, pizzas and paninis to eat in the lounge or take on the road. A highlight? A fried chicken creation made with fresh poultry.

Sweet tooths can also rejoice. The store’s “Cakery” features frosting made with real butter and $10 mini cakes, all made daily. They have a “cake walk” daily in the store where they give away a whole cake.

“The overall experience, especially for those who are a kid or a kid at heart, is you’ll be able to blow out the candles, make a wish, do the cake walk and be able to try the icing.” For the carb-celebrators, the Breadcrumb area is a highlight with freshly baked sweet and savory bakes.

At the Pick & Prep station, employees slice and dice fruits and vegetables made to order for your different cooking needs. There is no extra fee, and it’s all priced by weight.

Finally — the really good stuff — Sausage Works and Smokehouse. Sausage Works serves fresh brats and sausages, and the Smokehouse offers a collection of different types of meat, smoking them with different types of wood for a variety of flavors. Entire cuts are available for reserve, where they will be cured.

In addition to fresh, local food, the store is dedicated to environmental responsibility. Unlike other supermarkets, the Greer store has doors on all of its refrigerators, which cuts down on energy costs storewide and provides a more comfortable temperature for the buyers. It is also the first U.S. store to employ LED blades in lieu of harsher light; Lowes uses a mechanism to detect the amount of light outside and brighten or dim the lights accordingly.

Lowes Foods prides itself on its use of local items as often as possible in the store. “The thing for me is that we are all about local,” said Lowe. “We have about 2,500 items throughout the store that are local.” These can be found with the different tags and signs indicating products grown in the Carolinas. “We are all about taking care of local businesses,” he said.
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