Food Lion hopes to build store in Taneytown

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Food Lion, the nation's seventh-largest grocery chain, hopes to place its first Baltimore-area store in Taneytown, according to company officials and city planning records.

The city's planning and zoning commission last night recommended that site plans for the 33,000-square-foot store be submitted for further review by city officials and the public.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to be in this market," Brian Peace, a company spokesman, said yesterday from Food Lion's Salisbury, N.C., headquarters.

"We are planning on looking for even more opportunities" in the Baltimore area.

If it is ultimately built -- a lease for the store site in the 500 block of E. Baltimore St. could be signed by the end of the week -- the Taneytown Food Lion would be the company's 24th outlet in Maryland.

While the grocery chain doesn't have an outlet in any of the Maryland counties in the Washington or Baltimore metropolitan areas, it has several in eastern Frederick County, as well as numerous outlets in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, Mr. Peace said.

The grocery store would be a "full-service" outlet, with a deli and bakery.

The store likely wouldn't be open 24 hours, unlike Baltimore market leader Giant Food Inc., but would "offer extensive shopping hours," Mr. Peace said.

Mr. Peace said that Food Lion doesn't try to be like Giant or other large chains by operating so-called hyperstores -- grocery stores with numerous departments and extensive nongrocery services.

"We're more of a traditional supermarket," Mr. Peace said.

The site under review is within a half-mile of Taneytown's only other grocery store, the Taneytown Super Thrift. It would include part of the Wantz Chevrolet property.

City officials said yesterday that Food Lion has been negotiating for the site for "some time."

When it is completed, the store would employ 50 to 60 people, Mr. Peace said.

The company is not unionized.

As the seventh-largest grocery chain in the country, Food Lion operates 1,029 stores in 14 states, mostly in the southeastern United States, Mr. Peace said.

The publicly traded company, which employs 65,000 people, posted sales last year of nearly $8 billion, Mr. Peace said.

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