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With so many expatriates in North Carolina, Sahlen’s hot dogs follow

Buffalo expatriates living in North Carolina no longer have to fill coolers with Sahlen’s hot dogs to bring back after visits home. The hometown favorite is now being sold at certain Harris Teeter grocery stores in the greater Charlotte area.

Sahlen’s is test-marketing its products at 60 Harris Teeter locations in Charlotte and elsewhere in Mecklenburg County with hopes of rolling them out to all 230 of the company’s stores.

The company started studying the market five years ago, after learning about the region’s large population of transplanted Western New Yorkers. More than 2,000 people relocated from Erie County to Mecklenburg County from 2004 to 2010. It started its market entry with smaller deals through Charlotte Motor Speedway and some regional stores and restaurants, then made the jump to the giant supermarket chain.

“We, as a company, are changing,” Mark S. Battistoni, Sahlen’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in a news release.

“And for the first time in 146 years, we are significantly expanding our hot dog markets. It’s the right time to explore new opportunities.”

The Howard Street-headquartered company, which already is a sponsor of the Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Bisons, as well as a Rochester soccer team, now also sponsors the Charlotte Knights minor-league baseball team.