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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — New Weigel's convenience stores feature the company's brand-new foodservice concept: a deli department that offers fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, paninis, pizzas, hamburgers, quesadillas, hot dogs and sausage rolls, reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The first Weigel's store to include the new foodservice program opened in January in LaFollette, Tenn., followed by two others in Harriman and Claxton, Tenn.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Nov. 17 to mark the opening of the fourth store to include the deli, located at 6927 Kington Pike in the Bearden neighborhood of Knoxville. This store, which replaced a former Weigel's that had operated on the site since 1975, also marks the chain's 63rd location overall.
"It was one of our oldest stores and had just two [gas] pumps," Weigel's Chairman and CEO Bill Weigel told the news outlet. "We tore it down about six months ago to make way for the new store."
Now, another Weigel's store in the Clinton-Norris, Tenn., area is undergoing renovations that will add the deli, as well as a four-bay diesel fuel area for truckers.
The addition of the food program is part of Weigel's growth period, which has been ongoing for four years, according to the chief executive. Two other stores are currently under construction within its existing footprint and in early 2016, the chain will expand into the Chattanooga, Tenn., region, where its first area store is being built in Sweetwater. The Sweetwater store will function as a new prototype and test store for the chain.
The baked-to-order pizzas available at the deli are standouts, according to Weigel. "People say they're better than Little Caesar's, which is our main competition."
The company specifically chose to produce its own brand rather than offer an outside brand. "We're branding everything ourselves," Weigel said. "All of the kitchen is new, and that's something we will be adding to other stores as well."