Alex Lee Inc. announced Tuesday that the company will be purchasing 20 BI-LO stores in South Carolina and Georgia from Southeastern Grocers Inc.

Five locations across the state will become Lowes Foods, including two Midlands stores. The BI-LO in Chapin at 1419 Chapin Rd., and in Columbia at 120 Forum Dr. will be converted to Lowes. The grocery stores will remain open as BI-LO until the transaction is complete, which is expected to take place over a staggered period from September to November, pending customary closing requirements.

Lowes Foods will do a complete conversion of the stores by next summer to introduce the full Lowes shopping experience, including its specialty shopping areas called Lowes Foods Originals.

When the stores initially rebrand this fall, shoppers will begin to see the products from several Lowes Foods Originals including packaged Smokehouse ribs and BBQ, SausageWorks sausages as well as Chicken Kitchen products including fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, chicken wings and in-store made chicken salad and chicken pot pies. The expanded wine department will feature Sunmill Direct, an assortment of wine sourced directly from vineyards around the world. The bakery areas will also carry Lowes Foods’ popular L’Oven fresh cookies.

The store delis will feature Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, and the beef selection will include Certified Angus Beef®. In addition, the stores will have an expanded produce section to include more organic and specialty products and a larger floral department featuring orchids, bouquets, and balloons.

The other 15 stores acquired by Alex Lee Inc. will be converted to KJ’s Market IGA, including one BI-LO in the Midlands located at 249 West Columbia Ave., Batesburg.

“We are excited to add these new locations to our retail store portfolio,” said Brian George, President & CEO, Alex Lee, Inc. “We have an opportunity to accelerate our growth in these markets while continuing to provide shoppers with a unique grocery shopping experience in their local communities.”

According to officials from Alex Lee, there will be more than 2,000 employees hired to continue serving the communities where the 20 stores are located. Prior to the completion of the transaction, representatives plan to meet with current BI-LO employees in those stores to discuss employment opportunities.

Alex Lee is a family-owned and operated company based in Hickory, NC.