Thursday, January 10, 2008

Grocerying in Sandersville, Georgia

Sandersville, Georgia is a charming small town that lies on the Fall Line Freeway, midway between Augusta and Macon. Its economy is based on Kaolinite and the town has seen many changes over the past few years - especially on the grocerying scene. Once home to grocers such as Food Lion, Bi-Lo, A&P, Winn-Dixie, FoodMax/Bruno's, these grocers have dwindled and left due to the presence of a 200,000+ square foot Super Wal-mart Center. And the truth of the matter is that it is hard to sustain a general grocer when you have a Wal-Mart Supercenter in a town of 6,000. Additionally, the town has been losing population which hasn't helped in bringing in a quality grocery store. Nearby Milledgeville has Piggly Wiggly and Kroger. Sandersville has Harvey's, which is comparable to a low-end Food Lion (Harvey's is a subsidiary of Delhaize Group - parent company of Food Lion). The town also has an IGA+, but as we saw the produce and organization inside the store was less than stellar. Harvey's wasn't much better, they had expired food on their shelves.... The former FoodMax store is still vacant with a lease sign from The Temples Group.

(Also photoed: Pizza Hut closed for "remodel," Kaolin Plaza/signs, Interior of Harvey's and IGA+).


Liz said...

Awwww...this is somewhat depressing. =( But thanks for posting about us. Maybe one day things will pick up.

cantnot said...

I hope so... I didn't want to sugarcoat it.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the picture of the IGA interior, the decor actually appears more appealing than the Harvey's. The origins of IGA as a Winn-Dixie are obvious as is the Harvey's starting life as a Food Lion. Decor, organization, merchandising, and overall store atmosphere of Harvey's does seem mroe like an independent rather than a major chain. Note that Food Lion is still the banner in Macon/Warner Robins and Savannah while Harvey's has been expanded to the surrounding small towns including Statesboro, GA and Ridgeland, SC. Harvey's could benefit from being made more Food Lion-like, which would bring a little more chain-like atmosphere to the stores. Harvey's lacked the negative associations that Food Lion had from the NBC Dateline expose' which aired around the time FL was expanding into Middle and Southern Georgia.

Kaolin figures prominently in the economy of Sandersville-hardly a growth industry, it is used for pottery, bricks, anti-diarrheals(Kaopectate), and paint pigments. It's also the source of the famous red Georgia mud. It is depressing to fathom the future of these rural hamlets with or without the Bentonville behemoth.

It appears Peebles is hanging in for now. How well is doing would be a bellwether for Sandersville's prospects for the near future as clothing purchases reflect disposable income more than food purchases do.

Liz said...

Nice comment, anonymous...story about the Harvey's:

When it switched from Food Lion to Harvey's it was all okay...nothing to worry about, it seemed. Then they got their codes and standards type book...well Harvey's has lower standards and the people working there got so sick of the smell and overall nastiness of the store...that they went back to the codes and standards of Food Lion. They saw they were really losing customers because it was THAT nasty...the photos of it are about 100 times better than it was right after Harvey's opened.

Steven Swain said...

The vintage Winn-Dixie anchored shopping center makes the set. That place is straight up '70s! There's a shopping center in Abingdon, Virgina, that looks even more authentically from this time period, even retaining original Lowes Foods and Roses signage, but this one is just as good.

The conversion of Winn-Dixie to IGA still looks like Winn-Dixie, and Harvey's still looks like Food Lion, though with an even more garish decor.

John Pluta - BEEKEEPER said...

Harvey's has relocated to former Piggly Wiggly/Foodmax. Pizza Hut still closed now joined by closed Burger King and Taco Bell. IGA now IGA plus+ Food Lion store vacant
See pictures at

Liz said...

Another update:

I hear the Riddleville store will soon operate as just a "grocery-type" store rather than selling firearms and ammunition, etc.

Also, Lamar's Deli closed. A new Maryland's Fried Chicken opened in the former Popeye's/Hardees/Texas Chuck Wagon location, which is across from the former Food Lion/Harvey's. A church is looking to relocate in the former Wal-Mart building.

Wendy's re-opened after a fire destroyed the facility in 2009.