ABINGDON, Va. — Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin bagged groceries at Abingdon’s Food City for nearly an hour Tuesday.
Officially, the incoming governor’s appearance was part of a “Celebrity Bagging Event” sponsored by Food City as a fundraiser for the United Way of Southwest Virginia.
Yet Youngkin also considered it an outing to promote his plan to delete Virginia’s grocery tax.
Earlier this month, Youngkin won his bid to become Virginia’s new governor and will take office in January.
He made a few stops in Southwest Virginia on Tuesday while the “Celebrity Bagging Event” took place at 30 Food City stores from Virginia to Georgia, according to Steve Smith, president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company of Food City.
Each year, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Food City stores host elected officials, police personnel and well-known people to bag groceries and ask for tips at stores, Smith said.
Youngkin’s appearance in Abingdon attracted several bystanders while he was guarded by Virginia State Police personnel.
The governor-elect also made a stop Tuesday in Scott County and held a rally in Abingdon to thank Southwest Virginia supporters.
“We had just extraordinary results in Southwest Virginia,” Youngkin said. “In a lot of these counties, we got 80%, 85% of the vote.”
Travis Staton, president and CEO of the United Way of Southwest Virginia, said he expected to garner about $25,000 in donations through tips at 12 stores across Southwest Virginia on Tuesday.
Youngkin laughed when asked how much he collected in tips for his bagging skills. But he said, “I did see a lot of people put a lot of $5 into the thing.”
For the governor-elect, this was nothing new. He said he spent a lot of time in grocery stores during the political campaign, trying to raise awareness for his plan to eradicate the grocery tax.
“I spent a lot of time talking to consumers about the rising cost of groceries,” he said. “We’re going to go to work to get the grocery tax eliminated.”