Change is coming to Fort Mill's Bloom grocery store. The Regent Parkway store is becoming a Food Lion and employees are not guaranteed jobs.
The same corporate parent - Belgium-based Delhaize Group - owns both brands. The U.S. subsidiary, Delhaize America, operates hundreds of grocery stores in several formats that vary by state. The Bloom format is considered more upscale than Food Lion, which has three locations in the Fort Mill area, including one in Indian Land.
The transition will not affect customers' ability to shop, according to Benny Smith, a Food Lion/Bloom spokesman, who said other Bloom stores - but not all - in South Carolina will be switched to the Food Lion format.
"The stores will remain open," Smith said. "It will be a smooth transition."
The change is already under way at the Fort Mill Bloom grocery store, located 1046 Regent Parkway.
An average of 50 to 60 employees work at each Bloom store, Smith said.
Most jobs at all the stores being transitioned are not guaranteed. Workers will apply for positions at the Food Lion store, Smith said.
Smith is certain some Bloom employees will be hired to work at Food Lion.
"We're not letting go of all 55 employees," Smith said.
He wouldn't explain why workers have to reapply for jobs at Food Lion even though both stores are owned by the same company.
In an email Smith sent to the Fort Mill Times after a phone interview, he wrote, "Associates may apply for any open positions in the converted stores. We are encouraging affected Bloom associates to apply for these and other open positions at Bloom, Food Lion or other sister banners."
A Fort Mill Bloom store manager, when asked about the transition or employee count, declined to comment and referred questions to the store's corporate office.
Bloom's change to Food Lion involves more than 10 stores in both Carolinas, Smith said. In addition to the Fort Mill location, six Bloom grocery stores in the Greenville area are slated to change to Food Lion, according to a press release. One store, located in Maudlin, will be closed, the release notes.
Eight Charlotte area stores are part of the change.
Delhaize America operates more than 1,600 stores in the eastern United States. The decision to change Bloom stores came after a "thorough analysis and careful consideration for the customers in these markets," the company said in the release.
Smith said he hopes local Bloom customers won't look elsewhere for groceries after the change.
"Give us a chance," he said. "Come to our stores, and see what we have to offer."