Food Lion service clerk approaches nearly 30 years at Columbus store

Published 10:00 pm Friday, April 14, 2017

COLUMBUS – If you frequent the Food Lion in Columbus, you might recognize customer service clerk Steve Raines manning one of the checkout lines or in his orange vest as he brings shopping carts back inside.

Raines has worked at the same grocery store for 29 years. Born and raised in Lynn, where has been ever since, Raines graduated from Tryon High School in 1987 and began working at Food Lion the following year in 1988.

“I know just about everybody in town,” Raines said. “I can go out and people who have seen me in here will holler at me.”

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Raines said he started off as a stocker, worked in the produce section and then worked at the checkout line full time.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to be or where to go,” Raines recalled. “I did go to Blue Ridge Community College and got a degree in working in the body shop and antique restoration on cars.”

Cars are his side hobby and he is currently working on converting his Toyota truck to a “woody,” which means replacing the sides of his vehicle with a wooden finish.

“The antique tractors just look good, and I had a ’57 Chevy for 18 years,” Raines recounted. “I’m currently putting a wooden tram on my truck and turning it into a woody.”

Raines said he likes to go to car and tractor shows in places like Asheville, N.C. and Gray, Tenn. often, but has never entered any car of his own. Classic cars and antique tractors are his two favorite kinds of vehicles.

“Sometimes I work on other people’s cars, mostly my own, and I’ve done painted cosmetic restoration,” Raines said.

Interacting with customers is something Raines said he enjoys doing while at work. He explained some customers would wait until they can enter his line to check out.

“I don’t know why that is, people must like me, I guess,” Raines said. “I try not to cheat anyone.”

Raines said he is the only grocer in his family, adding that his brother in Mill Spring works in information technology.

“He’s really smart with computers,” Raines said, “and I remember when they brought computers into the store here. Before them, everything was done manually.”

Before computers, Raines said customer service clerks would have to enter in the prices for every item bought.

“Everything is electronic [now],” Raines explained. “Years ago, cashiers would have to type in every price. They also used to not sell beer and wine, and a lot of people didn’t like it when we started.”

When Raines started at Food Lion, he began as a stocker during third shift, which transitioned into a daytime shift. As a result, Raines knows where everything in the store is, from sodas to syrup.

“A group of people, vendors, will come in about every two months to see if things need changing in the aisles,” Raines explained. “Those changes don’t happen often.”

Roger McDaniel works as the dairy manager at the Columbus Food Lion and has been with the grocery store chain since 1991, hopping from grocery stores in Rutherfordton to Forest City and Lyman, S.C. until returning to Columbus seven years ago.

“He’s a good man and he’s quiet as a mouse, but he does his job and he’s a good worker,” McDaniel said of Raines. “I think he might retire from here.”

Raines echoed McDaniel and said he agreed since he has been at the same store for so long.

“I’ve been here so long at the same place. I’ve been told I’m well known in the community,” Raines explained. “I just try to do the best I can and try to be nice to people.”