Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bi-Lo closing in Charlotte's Dilworth neighborhood, to be replaced by Bloom store

The Bi-Lo store at Dilworth Crossing in Charlotte, at the corner of Park Road and Ideal Way, is set to close this week after serving the Dilworth Community since 1988. But the history of the store dates back to a few years prior, when residents were engaged in a debate as to whether a grocery store should be built in their neighborhood or not. The Kroger Company wanted to build a store in this historic streetcar suburb, thus spurring the phrase "No Krogering In Dilworth." A photograph of the sign can be seen here. Prior to Bi-Lo's renovation of the store, the Dilworth store was one of Kroger's classic"greenhouse" style stores. You can still find the remnants of Kroger Greenhouse style stores around Charlotte these days converted into something else.

Currently, the Bi-Lo store encompasses around 45,000 square feet, and the interior seems like it was remodeled in the mid-to-late 90s but Grocerying does not officially know when the updates took place. The store also has been patroned by residents not only in Dilworth, but residents of the Wilmore community and other lower income areas, respectively, near I-77 for whom the store has provided as an alternative to neighborhood stores and the lack of having a full size grocery store in their immediate area. Bi-Lo has noted that the closing of their Dilworth store is not related to their recent filing for bankruptcy protection. According to the Charlotte Observer, the reason for Bi-Lo's departure from Dilworth is due to terms in their lease agreement, as the owner of the center wants to bring in a store that would better suit the neighborhood, which over the last 20 years has gone through a redevelopment of sorts of its own.

Many feel that Bi-Lo has struggled to find a niche, especially in the Charlotte market, as their stores in the lower-to-middle end are closing and as the concept of Super Bi-Lo is being tested in the market. Because the Bi-Lo store in Dilworth is in a prime location in what some may call a trendy neighborhood, the store will not sit vacant for long. Bloom, the "high tech" and more upscale market run by Food Lion, will construct a 55,000 square foot location in its space. Grabbing the location is a real boon for Bloom. Currently, their stores are on the fringes of the Charlotte area, and this will be their first real in-town location in south Charlotte, a region of town that is dominated by Harris Teeter. The Bloom store is scheduled to open by the end of the year.

More photos of the interior and exterior of the store:

The sign reads: "Our Park Road Bi-Lo will be closing on 4-25 Saturday at 7 p.m. We have enjoyed serving the community since 1988 and hnope you visit us at our other Charlotte locations. Thank you"

UPDATE: This store has been converted to a Food Lion.


Matt from CLT said...

Hmmmmm...I don't know quite what to think about this. I do have to wonder if Bi-Lo couldn't have tried just a little harder to make things better.

I went here once. It's just like several others in the metro -- it reminded me the most of the Park/51 one. I didn't notice anything terrible about the store as some of the people on the Observer page said.

I can't pass judgment on Bloom yet, though, since I've never been to one. But walls are going up on the one near my house (Steele Creek)! At least it's not replaced with another HT.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cool that the store will be replaced, but I was hoping that this would've been a golden opportunity for someone new to enter the market... Publix, Wegman's, Whole Foods even.

Anonymous said...

It's sad indeed to see another Bi-Lo go. I'm very glad the one at the corner of McKee-Weddington is doing well, because that shows that Charlotte actually does have a market for Bi-Lo's. I have to agree with Matt - perhaps if Bi-Lo had tried harder, it would've succeeded.

On the other hand, Bloom is a great grocery store as well, and I will be happy to see another one joining the Charlotte market.