By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor
Would-be shoppers of Gadsden’s Food City can now start writing their grocery lists, as the location now has an opening date of January 24, 2024.
The store, which is occupying the former Sears side of the Gadsden Mall, hit one major snag in the construction process that resulted in the original projected finish date of late summer 2023 being pushed further and further back. The issue was an important electrical part necessary for a permanent power source — despite being ordered on time — was on back order and could not be delivered as promised.
According to Steve Smith, president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., the parent company of Food City, the setback was frustrating.
“We ordered this part in July a year ago, I believe,” Smith told The Messenger in a September 2023 interview. “I’m frustrated. I’m pretty upset, or, actually, I am disappointed.”
The part in question is a switchgear — a vital part in establishing permanent power to a building. A switchgear is composed of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment.
The delay has been costly. The original budget for the whole construction and renovation process was between $14 and 15 million. The switchgear has cost the company an estimated $100,000, or more, according to Smith.
Aside from the delays caused by the switchgear, the rest of the construction process has gone smoothly.
“That’s the positive spin here,” Smith said. “Everything else is going very well. Most of the store is coming together as we hoped it would. We are building a great store team and have already hired good team members. We’re excited.”
When the business is fully staffed and ready for a grand opening, Smith hopes to have between 175-200 employees, with a mix of full-time and part-time schedules.
While the original Food City stores date back to 1918, the 53,700 square foot Gadsden location will be up-to-date and full of amenities, including a sushi bar, hot bar, fresh bar, soup bar, sit-down café, pharmacy and a Starbucks. As mentioned before, the site will also have a fuel station.
The Gadsden store, like other Food City stores, will offer curbside pickup and home delivery through third-party delivery companies like Door Dash and Instacart.
Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford is happy that Food City will soon open their doors.
“We’re looking forward to new economic activity in Gadsden starting in January,” Ford said in a Facebook post announcing the grand opening date.
The grocery chain has several locations in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. The Albertville store is the only Food City location in Alabama until the Gadsden store is complete.
“We’re excited to be coming to Gadsden,” Smith said. “The community seems excited as well. Gadsden is a great area and the mayor and city have been great to work with. We couldn’t be more excited to be part of the community. And we’re planning on being part of the community. We want to be involved.”
City leaders and company representatives officially broke ground on the Gadsden location on Dec. 2, 2022.