Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/723369
26 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2016 Store of the Month Food City, Johnson City, Tenn. Comfort Zones Next up is the store's expansive deli/bakery, which Bishop describes as "one of the largest we have." e bakery offers a host of store-made baked goods, including specialty dessert cakes and higher-end items like cannoli and fruit tarts, all offered for the first time by a Food City store. Describing these as "new merchandising ex- periments," Dan Glei, EVP of merchandising and marketing, notes: "We learn a lot of things about what our customers want, and it allows our cus- tomers to experiment with things they've perhaps not tried previously." In contrast to the shock of the new bakery items, the deli provides a panoply of familiar favorites that customers can order to go or enjoy in the store's eat-in section (there's space both on the ground floor and upstairs in an area that can be accessed either by stairs or elevator). "It's about comfort foods," Adkisson says of the available fare. "Our clientele is drawn to the meat- loaf and fried chicken, country steaks — comfort home cooking." Once customers have consumed any of those, banana pudding garnished with Nilla wafers, a Southern favorite, beckons for dessert. Meanwhile, a grab-and-go case offers ready-made sandwiches and one of the store's big sellers: sushi, prepared fresh daily in the seafood department. Of the various items on display in the signature meat and salad case, nearly ev- erything is made in-house from scratch, several from recipes provided by the store's own associates. at's not the only point of pride for the section, however. "We have an in-store meat smoker," notes Adkisson. "We have barbecue on the bar every day," includ- ing ribs and hand-pulled pork, beef and chicken. ere's also a brick oven for pizza that sells by the slice and whole pie. e section does a brisk all-day busi- ness, but one eating occasion is especially popular. "We do a full-scale breakfast bar, Continued from page 23 I was speaking to somebody every day who just wanted to see the store. They wanted to see the biggest and newest concepts in the grocery industry, and we were able to provide that shopping experience for them." —Derek Adkisson, store manager MAD e T o or D er The Johnson City store's deli/bakery area includes a wide range of lunchmeats and cheeses, as well as a meat smoker, manned by pitmaster Paul King, and a brick oven for making pizza.