The Food City banner dates back to 1918 when a store opened in Greeneville, TN but K-VA-T Food Stores real beginning was in 1955 when Jack C. Smith (founder), his father Curtis, cousin Ernest and uncle Earl opened their first store in Grundy, VA. Since that time, Food City has grown in leaps by acquisitions of several Piggly Wiggly operations in Southwest VA and Eastern KY, along with Quality Foods/Food City, White Stores, Winn Dixie and BI-LO units in east Tennessee. The company has also grown steadily by expansion into new areas, filling in gaps in the trade area with new units and always remodeling and replacing current units to stay on the cutting edge of grocery technology, product selection and consumer demand.
K-VA-T Food Stores follows national marketing trends. “In the last several years,” Steve Smith, President and CEO said, “we have branched out into the pharmacy and fuel businesses.” The company has 75 pharmacies and 56 fuel stations.
The company is very community-oriented and involved in local efforts. Food City also partners with farmers in Southwest VA and Northeast TN to bring local produce to its customers which helps local farmers and satisfies customer demand. The Food City name has also become synonymous with NASCAR racing in the area with it’s sponsorship of two of the sport’s most popular races, the Food City 500 and Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. As the second longest running sponsor in NASCAR, Food City has also contributed over half a million dollars to local organizations through its annual Family Race Night events.
K-VA-T Food Stores owns and operates the 1.1 million square-foot Food City Distribution Center, located in Abingdon, VA. The company also offers customers private label choices under the labels “Food City”, “Food Club”, “Paws”, “Valu Time”, “Full Circle”, “Top Care”, “World Classic”, “Academix”, “Domestix”, “Electrix” and “Easy Clix” through its participation in the Topco cooperative. K-VA-T has also brought back some favorite local brand names that have once again become a very popular choice among area shoppers. Referred to as their “Legacy Brands”, these include Kay's Ice Cream, Terry’s Snack Foods, Lay’s Meats and Kern’s Bread. A subsidiary arm of K-VA-T Food Stores, Misty Mountain Spring Water, L.L.C., bottles spring water for sale (over sixteen million gallons) in Food City stores and under private label for other customers.
K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. continues to grow and share its growth with associates. “About 14% of the company is owned by our associates, and that continues to grow every year through our profit-sharing plan,” Steve Smith said.
K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. ranked 40th on the latest (2008) Progressive Grocer's list of America's 50 Largest Supermarket Chains, 55th on Supermarket News “Top 75 North American Food Retailers” (January, 2008) with over 1.6 billion dollars in sales and 269th on Forbes Magazine’s “List of the largest privately-held companies in 2007."