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May 12

Food Lion is my new favorite grocery store.  Based in Salisbury, North Carolina, the chain has over 1,300 locations throughout the southern states.  Inside are all the products you’d expect, as well as specialty items not available in northern stores, like gallon-sized tea bags, sheets of beef jerky, and three flavors of instant grits (butter, cheddar, and American cheese).  The aisles at Food Lion are ten-feet wide and the linoleum floors shine like marble.  The cashiers ring up the discount price before asking if you have the insiders’ saving card, and then they offer to carry your bags to the car.

The finest thing about Food Lion is its logo, a squarish crest with the stylized profile of a lion standing (and roaring) above the store’s name, which is rendered in a slender, elegant font.  It’s not a cuddly storybook lion or a ferocious wild lion that’s pictured, but a heraldic Anglophilic lion, a bit like the old Pringle of Scotland dragon.  The logo is simple and enigmatic.  It could stand for for any entity: a rugby team, a marching band, or an investment bank.  For this regional grocery store designers fashioned a corporate identity that confers a genuine sense of pride.

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