About Us – Our History

Food City Store

K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., the corporate banner for the Food City supermarket chain, is an acronym for its original service area of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The privately held, family-owned company has grown over the years by expansion, new store construction, and acquisitions. 

Having served their neighbors for over 100 years, the Food City banner dates back to 1918, with a store in Greeneville, TN.  K-VA-T Food Stores’ beginning came in 1955 when Jack C. Smith, his father Curtis, cousin Ernest, and uncle Earl opened their first Piggly Wiggly in Grundy, VA. The company later acquired several other Piggly Wiggly locations in Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, followed by Quality Foods/Food City, White Stores, Winn Dixie and BI-LO stores in east Tennessee and north Georgia. Food City recently acquired the Cooke’s/Fresh n’ Low family of stores in the greater Cleveland, TN area.

Today, the company spans five states, operating 150 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, north Georgia, and Alabama. The chain includes 130 Food City locations (with 119 pharmacies and 116 fuel/convenience stores), 5 Fresh n’ Low and 1 Cooke’s Food Store & Pharmacy locations, 4 Super Dollar Food Center limited assortment stores, 4 wine & spirits stores and 6 Curt’s Ace Hardware stores. K-VA-T Foods also operates their own 1.2 million square-foot distribution center, located in Abingdon, VA, as well as Misty Mountain Spring Water, L.L.C. Over 12% of the company is owned by their associates through their employee profit-sharing plan. The company attributes their continued success to their talented team of associates and their dedication to their customers and the communities they serve. 

Food City Store

Food City offers a wide variety of services and conveniences, ranging from in-store fresh baked goods, deli meats, cheeses, salads, hot foods, and large café seating areas to Floral Boutiques, staffed with trained designers seven days per week. Full-service meat and seafood departments offer pre-marinated/seasoned products and a complete selection of top-quality all-natural meats, including Certified Angus Beef. In-house butchers hand cut steaks, chops, and roasts to order. Expanded grocery, frozen food, produce and health & beauty care departments go well beyond the normal fare, with a huge selection of gourmet, international and hard-to-find items.  Food City’s farm to table partnership with local growers provides their customers fresh-from-the-field fruits and vegetables, many of which are delivered the same day they’re picked. The company purchases nearly $5,000,000 in locally grown produce annually.

Food City pharmacies are staffed with highly trained professionals, and a number of locations offer the added convenience of drive-thru service. Their Gas N’ Go fuel centers offer competitive prices on top quality fuel and diesel. A number of stores include national or local branch banks, offering ATM’s and a full range of financial services. The company also offers the added convenience of on-line shopping with curbside pick-up in many locations. Orders are filled by professional shoppers and loaded into the vehicle upon arrival. Food City Home Delivery powered by Instacart is available at most locations, providing shoppers with the flexibility of same-day delivery to their door. Food City recently expanded their partnership with DoorDash to include on demand grocery delivery in numerous stores, as well as on demand delivery of fresh floral arrangements in participating localities. A number of stores also include a Starbucks café, offering a wide assortment of blended hot and cold coffees and beverages, as well as an assortment of tasty breakfast sandwiches and pastries. 

The company offers a full line of money saving private label products, including Food Club, Food City Fresh, Full Circle Market, Wide Awake Coffee Co., Tippy Toes, Harvest Club, Paws Happy Life, Evolve, Over the Top, Nostimo, Crav’n, CharKing, Misty Mountain, Flock’s Finest, b-lieve, Simply Done, TopCare, Culinary Tours, That’s Smart, Pure Harmony, and more. Food City also carries a line of exclusive regional brand products, including Kern’s Bread, Kay’s Ice Cream, Lay Meats, Terry’s Snack Foods, and Moore’s Potato Chips.

New Food City Store

 The company supports a number of non-profit organizations and community events throughout their market area. Food City’s School Bucks Program has donated more than $21,400,000 in much needed equipment to over a thousand area schools. Their annual Charity Golf Outing has raised nearly $14 million to benefit area charitable organizations. Their annual Race Against Hunger campaign provides over $500,000 in local hunger relief each year, in addition to their Friends & Pets in Need campaign, which raises in excess of $250,000 annually. Their Paralyzed Veterans of America partnership has raised $3.19 million to benefit paralyzed veterans. The company also raises over $500,000 annually in support of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and supports many other organizations, including United Way, Susan G. Komen, The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, Feeding Southwest Virginia, and countless others.

The Food City name is also synonymous with NASCAR racing through their title sponsorship of two of the sport’s most popular events - the spring Food City Dirt Race (formerly the Food City 500) and fall Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. The second longest running sponsor in NASCAR motorsports, 2022 marked the 30th Anniversary of the company’s race sponsorships. Food City also served as the presenting sponsor of the historic “Battle at Bristol” football game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Food City is a major corporate partner of several local athletic programs, including the University of Tennessee, East Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Emory and Henry.

“We’re proud to be locally owned and operated,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City President/CEO. “We’re extremely passionate about what we do, and we’re committed to providing our customers with exceptional service and top-quality products at the lowest possible price while continuing the mission our company was founded upon over sixty-five years ago, to “run the best store in town”.