Monday, September 29, 2014

Green Brothers Juice Co. open in Bank of America Plaza

A new juice bar is open in Bank of America Plaza: Green Brothers Juice Co., developed by a pair of
Charlotte brothers.

Jason and Josh Norris opened their store last week. Josh said his older brother Jason got the idea while commuting regularly between Charlotte and Austin, where he saw a profusion of juice bars. He couldn't find a comparable healthy juice option in Charlotte, so the brothers decided to start one of their own.

"We believe that people underestimate how amazing they feel when they consume amazing nutrition," said Josh. "Our goal is to provide quick and easy access to healthy juices and smoothies, which is crucial to combating the fast food culture that pervades much of America."

Here is the brothers' description of the store: "Green Brothers features ridiculously fresh and organic juices, superfood smoothies and nutrient packed shots that taste as good as they feel!"

Their hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Their goal is to have three Charlotte locations open by the end of next year.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Walmart hiring 95 for Waxhaw grocery store

Walmart is hiring 95 workers for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store planned in Waxhaw, the company said.

The store will be at 2524 Cuthbertson Road, Walmart said. There's no exact opening date set, but the supermarket is expected to open this winter. Most of the new associates hired will start work in December.

The store has set up a temporary hiring center to accept applications at 101 Waxhaw Professional Park Drive, Suite F, open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. People can also apply online at

Walmart opened its first local Neighborhood Market last year on Independence Boulevard. The company is planning more stores in Charlotte, Pineville, Concord and Rock Hill. Neighborhood Market stores are the size of a large supermarket, significantly smaller than the company's well-known SuperCenters. They represent Walmart's biggest push into the grocery space in recent years, as the mega-retailer tries to cut into traditional supermarket operators' market share.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

RUSH by Rush Espresso opens uptown

RUSH by Rush Espresso, a spinoff of the popular Ballantyne Village Café, is now open uptown, in Brevard Court.

Owner Paul McConaghy said RUSH is a smaller version of Rush Espresso, with a focus on pastries, coffee and fast service. Targeted at businesspeople going to work or taking a break, the café has a smaller menu than Rush Espresso - no breakfast paninis, for example - and more limited seating, with 12 chairs inside and eight outside.

"This is a business-oriented, grab-and-go café," said McConaghy. RUSH has 30 pastries, 20 of which are baked fresh on site and 10 of which are from local bakeries. Like Rush Espresso, the café serves Lavazza coffee.

Marla Sessoms of Legacy Real Estate Advisors represented RUSH.

RUSH joins Pho Plus and Melt In Your Mouth Cupcakes as the newest Brevard Court eatery. For now, RUSH is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but McConaghy said he's exploring weekend hours.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Back Yard Burgers seeks a return to Charlotte

A burger franchise that left Charlotte during the recession is looking to make a comeback locally, Back Yard Burgers CEO Dave McDougall said.

"Charlotte is a market that we obviously had some good presence," McDougall said. "Unfortunately, some things didn't go so well for our franchise operator so we're not there now."

The company has restaurants in Raleigh and Greenville, S.C. Back Yard Burgers was battered by the recession, and went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company emerged in 2013 with plans to start growing again.

Now, McDougall said he plans a "concerted push" to get Back Yard back in Charlotte, hopefully within a year.

"It's really about finding the right operator to get that brand going again," said McDougall.

You might have noticed that the Charlotte burger scene isn't exactly hurting for new entrants. From Five Guys to Smashburger, the fast-casual segment of burger restaurants has grown rapidly in recent years. Some local eateries, such as Nom Nom Burgers, have closed their doors, while others, like Bad Daddy's, have flourished.

McDougall said Back Yard's wide range of menu options, which also include chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers and salads, will help distinguish it, as will ingredients such as candied bacon and a drive-thru at every store.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Huntersville Publix to open Oct. 9

Publix Super Markets plans to open its newest local grocery store Oct. 9 in Huntersville, the company said.

The store, which will be Publix's sixth in the region, is located at 9815 Rose Commons Drive. Publix is opening another store in the Steele Creek area on Oct. 1, in a former Bi-Lo store at 12810 South Tryon St.

Publix plans to open a total of 13 local stores in Charlotte.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Food Lion offers hungry families meals for apple purchases

Salisbury-based Food Lion has launched a promotion to give meals to hungry families when customers buy gala apples.

For each bag of specially-marked gala apples, Food Lion will donate five meals to food banks in the grocer's 10-state footprint. The 3-pound bags of apples are priced at $2.99, Food Lion said. The promotion runs through Oct. 7, and Food Lion said it will donate 1 million meals (That's 200,000 bags of apples, if you're keeping track).

Food Lion is a subsidiary of Belgian grocery conglomerate Delhaize. The company has 1,100 stores, primarily in the Southeast, and has been trying to bounce back among stiff competition from grocers such as Publix, Walmart and Harris Teeter.

Here's how Food Lion describes itself now: "By leveraging its longstanding heritage of low prices and convenient locations, Food Lion is working to own the easiest full shop grocery experience in the Southeast, anchored by a strong commitment to affordability, freshness and the community it serves."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Salsarita's opening new store prototype Sept. 29

Charlotte-based Salsarita's is opening a new restaurant in Indian Land on Sept. 29, with a new floor plan and design that's meant to be the prototype for all new Salsarita's.

Company owner Phil Friedman says customers will notice a more muted color palette, better lighting and a new curved service line setup for ordering food. The 80-seat fast-casual Mexican restaurant restaurant is in the Cross Creek Shopping Center at Doby’s Bridge Rd. & Hwy. 521, in front of Publix.

"We took a lot of time re-investigating the prototype," said Friedman. "It's another chapter."

He said the design process for the new store took longer than expected, as the company focused on details such as which light bulbs make fresh food on the line look best.  

"The prototype was a little harder than I thought it would be," said Friedman. "Once you get into it, it's more than you think. It's like buying a new house."

Director of marketing Yanira Castro said the new restaurant design is meant to pay homage to Salsarita's green and purple colors, but in a more muted, modern way. The restaurant also has an awning, meant to be recognizable from afar, like Panera. 

Salsarita's currently has more than 70 restaurants in 17 states. Now, Friedman, who bought the company in 2011, wants to expand Salsarita's out from Charlotte focusing on markets in a three-hour radius of the city. The company is searching for franchisees and hopes to reach a growth rate of 30 to 40 new units a year, Friedman said.

"This year we're really starting to attract and sign the people we want who can develop markets," he said. Eventually, he said Salsarita's could be a strong regional chain with up to 500 locations. A grand opening for the Indian Land store is set for Oct. 3, with giveaways including a pair of Panthers tickets.
Salsarita's new logo (above)

Salsarita's old logo