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K-VA-T Food Stores has rolled the dice with the opening of a 46,000 square foot Food City store, the company's largest footprint, in the small town of Maynardville in Union County, Tenn., is just north of Knoxville, in anticipation of a retiree boom in the area.
Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T is betting the small town is ripe for growth in retiree residents, due to its low cost of living and appeal of several nearby lakes.
Many in Union County, meanwhile, are saying future growth in the area hinges on the arrival of Food City, as the grocer's entry represents an almost $8 million investment, and created around 100 new jobs for the area.
The store employs 150 workers, but some Food City employees transferred to the new unit from Knoxville stores to be closer to home. Strong business growth has translated into additional employees hired after the grand opening.
Prior to the store's opening, county residents had to travel to Knoxville for grocery selection and other needs.
Some area business owners say Food City's location in Union County should help keep commerce close to home. "The Food City in Maynardville is already a kind of hub for that community," said John Jones, vp of K-VA-T's Knoxville Food City division.