ST. ALBANS CITY — Food City, located in The Switchyard shopping center on Lake Street, has recently undergone a major store makeover, and its owner and chief executive officer, Zak Sclar, is excited about the outcome.

According to Sclar, approximately $500,000 went into the upgrade. The project involved the replacement of produce cases, meat cases, and a remodeling of the entire inside of the store, Sclar said. The whole new décor package was long overdue, and he believes it has given store great new fresh look.

“We’re 99 percent there, just tweaking things, getting better every day. This phase is pretty much done,” Sclar said.

The upgrade was done for a few reasons, Sclar said. “We did it to be more ‘green,’ to provide a better shopping experience, to get more customers, and to source more locally. Hopefully the people of St. Albans will support us in this,” he said.

An important part of the upgrade to the grocery nearest downtown was making the store more environmentally friendly. Sclar worked with Susan Thompson of Efficiency Vermont regarding the “green” side of things.

According to spokesperson Kelly Lucci, Efficiency Vermont came in and conducted a full-scale audit on the grocery store, and Sclar was interested in doing everything the audit suggested. “He really went above and beyond with these changes,” Lucci said.

The store’s lighting, refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were upgraded. The updated refrigeration system will yield the highest efficiency savings, Lucci said, because refrigeration typically uses up the most energy.

“Food City is a great example of making sustainability a priority. They were committed to pursuing everything, and it was very impressive. It’s a beautiful space with low electric bills,” she said.

To celebrate the renovations, Food City is holding a four-week long re-grand opening event that began Friday.

As part of the celebration, there will be many extra-special deals, Sclar said. There also will be a grand prize raffle with prizes such as a year’s supply of groceries, Bruins tickets, a snowboard, and much more. Customers can enter the raffle free of charge, and winners will be announced on Feb. 8. A big celebration cake also will be in the store.

If customers respond well to the store changes, Sclar said there could be more upgrades in the future. “If sales increase, we will spend more capital on the store,” he confirmed.

Currently, business for Food City is going well. “The existing customer base appreciates the changes, and it will just get better and better,” Sclar said.

Natalie Handy is the Messenger Community News editor.