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Laurel Bottom Dollar stores reconfigured as Food Lions

Delhaize America, the parent company of Bottom Dollar Food Stores and Food Lion, is converting the two Bottom Dollar grocery stores in Laurel to Food Lion stores.

The process is nearly complete at the store on Sandy Spring Road.

Rebranding the two Laurel stores to Food Lions is part of a large-scale conversion — which includes eliminating its top-level Bloom grocery stores, converting some Bottom Dollar stores to Food Lions and reconfiguring some existing Bottom Dollar stores in other areas — that Delhaize America began last year.

"… We believe this will strengthen Food Lion's presence in the market as it simplifies our overall company operations in this market," said Christy Phillips-Brown, external communications director for Delhaize America.

Conversion of the South Laurel store in Crystal Plaza is expected to be completed by the end of February, according to Phillips-Brown.

Bottom Dollars aren't being eliminated, despite the trend in Laurel and other parts of Maryland, but Delhaize America is changing the format of the stores.

"The Bottom Dollar Food stores in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland were larger format stores, and we have found the Bottom Dollar Food format to be most successful in its smaller format stores, which are typically around 18,000 square feet," said Phillips-Brown.

The changing process to the Sandy Spring Road location isn't a new phenomenon as it hasn't always been a Bottom Dollar. It was earlier a Food Lion and was a Thriftway grocery store in the 1980s.

Although construction may have caused a little inconvenience, Laurel shopper Melvin Schools said he knows it comes with the process.

"Well it was understandable that during the transition period there will be a shortage of things on the shelf, but considering, they're turning it around really quickly," said Schools.

But a shortage of products was a problem before the construction began, according to Cynthia Wood, of Laurel.

"During the transition they run out of things, but that was also the problem with the normal Bottom Dollar. You would go in there, and they wouldn't have what you needed," Wood said. "The larger selection will be one nice thing about the switch."

The Fulton Food Lion emerged from its own conversion last year; it was formerly a Bloom, Delhaize America's top-level store banner which was retired.

Phillips-Brown said the Laurel Food Lion stores will have a full-service deli and bakery, and an expanded meat department.

If prices rise after the Bottom Dollars are converted to Food Lions, it will affect some Laurel shoppers, Wood said.

"For people with children the prices will make a big dent," Wood said. "They used to be able to go to the Bottom Dollar and buy the basic foods. But now the prices are going to be up."

Some shoppers are embracing the change of the Bottom Dollar rather than holding on to the store they used to know.

"I only come here if I have to pick up a few things. To be honest, I didn't like it as a Bottom Dollar, so I can only think that Food Lion will be better," said September Jenkins. "I've been to the Food Lion in Fulton and that one is really good."

Doug Miller is a journalism student at the University of Maryland.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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