ALBANY — Greeting a steady stream of shoppers on Wednesday at a newly opened Food Lion supermarket, store manager Mary Register felt like she was coming home.

The store located at 2310 N. Slappey Blvd. was one of three Food Lion stores that opened in Albany on Wednesday, bringing new grocery shopping opportunities to southwest Georgia residents.

“This is home,” said Register, who worked at a former Food Lion in the city and previously managed a store in Thomasville. “This is wonderful. We have gotten so much wonderful feedback.

“I talked to some people who were previous Food Lion customers who came back because Food Lion is back.”

The three locations — the other two are at 1511 S. Radium Springs Road and 2800 Old Dawson Road — will each have about 75 employees. The stores will be open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

Food Lion recently completed the acquisition of the locations, which were formerly Harveys Supermarkets, after announcing its plans last year to acquire 62 BI-LO/Harveys Supermarkets across the Carolinas and Georgia.

The opening came after a whirlwind 10 days of preparation for Register, and more than 60 store associates, who said she has been spending more time in the store than at her residence, another reason it feels like home. And some of the faces were familiar.

“It was crazy, but we all kept our spirits up and we broke bread,” she said. “We have to treat each other (well). I think I’ve got eight or nine who were here before.

“The best part of this was after we cut the ribbon and opened the doors the customers flooded in. It was fantastic.”

In addition to the usual products available in Food Lion supermarkets, including store brand Nature’s Promise, shoppers can find fresh products from Georgia companies including Norman Farms in nearby Norman Park, fresh pork and chicken from Alma and Hardy Farms peanuts from Hawkinsville as well as other local vendors.

For Deborah Hayes the opening was an occasion to pick up some of the fresh products, including a variety of fruits and vegetables. Hayes said she likes the produce selection available at the store.

“I used to shop at Food Lion when it was over where Goodwill is,” she said. “I like Food Lion.”

The company said it is committed to helping out in the community, and recently donated $4,500 to the Feeding the Valley Food Bank. It also plans to make regular donations of food to the agency and has donated the equivalent of some 750 million meals since 2014 across the country.

“We’re very excited to open these new Food Lion stores and serve our neighbors in Albany,” said Jason Conoly, the local director of operations for Food Lion. “Our store managers have deep roots in the community and look forward to welcoming neighbors into the new stores and having them experience the expansive assortment and variety throughout the store.”

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