Friday, January 30, 2015

Hillbilly Produce to relocate iconic shop

Hillbilly Produce Market is soon closing the doors of its iconic Independence Boulevard store.

The year-round farmer’s market -- known for selling a variety of items including locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats and landscaping materials -- opened in Charlotte in 1984.

Hillbilly Produce Market in 2008

The market’s owner, Marshall Surface, sold the property at 7024 Independence Boulevard to Charlotte-based Hendrick Automotive Group, which owns the property around the store, public records show.

A Hendrick spokesman said the company doesn't have any plans announced for the space yet but bought it for the flexibility to build eventually.

Dylan Thompson, the market’s manager, said the 31-year old market will close within “a week or two” after it has cleared out its remaining inventory.

“Obviously people are not happy with it,” Thompson said. “A lot of people seem to want to know (where the new store location will be) but we don’t have answers for them yet.”

Hillbilly Produce Market will reopen in a new location once the right one is found, Thompson said. Right now the market's management is looking at a few locations "pretty much everywhere, from Eastland Mall to a little bit east of Sardis Road North."

The market's owner could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Workout Anytime expanding into Charlotte

Workout Anytime is opening six new clubs in Charlotte this year, and first two will open early this spring. The gyms will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and every day of the year. 

For now, the low-cost clubs are concentrated mostly in Georgia and Tennessee, said Kevin Edmonds, area developer of Workout Anytime in North Carolina. 

There are currently about a dozen clubs in North Carolina -- in Cary, Greensboro and Winston Salem -- and in addition to the new Charlotte locations, clubs are also slated to open in Asheboro and Winston Salem early this year. The company is planning for an "additional 8-12 coming before the end of 2016" in Charlotte. 

"We've been eyeing it since day one because when you want to make a presence in the Carolinas, you know you have to have, to be a nationally known company, you have to be in the larger cities," said Kevin Edmonds. 

The first two clubs in Charlotte will be in the Catawba Village shopping Center on Mount Holly-Huntersville Road (opening in March) and on Roxie Street Northeast in Kannapolis (opening in April.) Membership presales have begun, Edmonds said. 

Basic membership to the workout facility is $15 a month, Edmonds said, and a premium membership is $25 a month and includes unlimited tanning and access to a hydro massage bed services. 


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gabriel Brothers hiring 170 workers at each of its two new NC locations

As part of its Gabe's debut in North Carolina, Gabriel Brothers, Inc. is closing two of its Rugged Warehouses and opening as two new Gabe's stores in Gastonia and Greensboro. It will hire 170 workers at each new store.

Gabe's is a bigger version of Rugged Warehouse that offers a larger selection of merchandise, including footwear, adult and children's clothing, small electronics and beauty products. The Morgantown, W.Va., retailer says its prices are up to 70 percent lower than those of department stores.

The new 50,000 square-foot Gastonia store will reside in the Akers Corners Shopping Center, about a quarter mile from the old Rugged Warehouse. The Greensboro location, also 50,000 square-feet, will be in the same shopping complex as the former Rugged Warehouse. Both open March 7. 

The company will retain Rugged Warehouse employees and will hire another 170 part-time and full-time associates, according to Dominic Vicencio, the company's senior marketing manager. The company is hiring for "leadership positions as well as supervisory, customer service, cashier and stocking roles," according to its website. 

The company didn't disclose pay for the Gabe's stores employees, but Vicencio said it'll be similar to what workers made at Rugged Warehouse. 

To fill those positions, on both Feb. 4 and 5 the two stores are hosting separate hiring events, each starting at 9 a.m. At Gastonia, the event will take place at the Gastonia Convention Center, located at 145 South Marietta Street. In Greensboro, it'll be at the Kalif Center at 2000 East Wendover Avenue.

Including two Rugged Warehouses in Charlotte, Gabriel Brothers operates 45 stores in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Vicencio said there are no current plans for changes at its other North Carolina stores. 

Brewpublik delivers craft beer to customers' doorsteps

A new service in Charlotte allows you to have your craft beer and drink it too without even having to leave the house.

The newly launched Brewpublik delivers four types of craft beer within a 30-minute radius of uptown Charlotte in either 12-pack (for $35) or 24-pack (for $60) hand-crafted wooden crates once a month. Like Pandora, the service uses an algorithm (or as they call it, a "beergorithm") to curate a selection of craft beers based on the customer's taste.

According to its website, Brewpublik has access to any beer distributor in North Carolina, or over 600 different beers. With each delivery, Brewpublik offers a beer information sheet that includes a description of the beer, how it's made, background on the brewer and food that complements it.

The Charlotte company was started by Zach Jamison and Charlie Mulligan, "two dudes" who live on Hawthorne Lane, according the company's website. The two said they plan to expand the service to other cities in the Southeast in coming months.

"We think Charlotte is developing a thirst for craft beer and we want to help customers discover and experience these new beers that are being created both in our backyard and all over the country," Mulligan said in a statement.

Walmart Neighborhood Market on Harris Boulevard to open this spring

The wait will soon be over. The new Walmart Neighborhood Market at 8800 East W.T. Harris Boulevard "is set to open this spring," according to Amanda Henneberg, a Walmart spokeswoman. 

The Neighborhood Market concept is Walmart's answer to traditional supermarkets. Like other markets, the Harris Boulevard location, located near the Albemarle Road intersection, will be around 41,00 square feet, the size of a typical grocery store, and will employ about 95 people. 

The stores typically offer a variety of grocery items, from meats to frozen foods and produce, as well as pet and cleaning supplies. Shoppers can order an assortment of items from Walmart's website for delivery at local Neighborhood Markets. 

According to Chain Store Guide, Walmart is the biggest grocery store in the Charlotte area, surpassing Harris Teeter and Publix. 

We'll update this blog when we know the exact opening of the new location. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fresh to Order to open Saturday in Carolina Place Mall

Fresh to Order, which offers a variety of freshly prepared seasonal menu items for about $10 or less, is gearing up to open its first Charlotte location Saturday in Carolina Place Mall.

The Alpharetta, Georgia-based “fast-dine” restaurant said it plans to open eight North Carolina locations over the next five years.

The “chef-inspired” menu features dishes like crushed-almond crusted tuna steak and brown sugar roasted pork loin, along with a variety of soups, salads and sandwiches, all prepared in less than 10 minutes.

"What we want to show Charlotte is that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor or your well-being to enjoy a fast, affordable meal,” Pierre Panos, the founder and CEO, said in a statement.


Panos, who has developed several restaurant concepts including Stony River and franchises several Papa Johns stores, opened the first Fresh to Order in 2006. The restaurant has about a dozen other locations in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Its menu can be viewed here

Monday, January 26, 2015

Walmart opening a 24/7 Neighborhood Market in Rock Hill

Continuing its foray into the grocery store business, Walmart is opening a Neighborhood Market in Rock Hill that will be open 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

The store is set to open Wednesday after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m.

Located at 1225 Cherry Road, the supermarket will offer an assortment of groceries including meats and produce as well as other merchandise like pet supplies and beauty products. It will also have a bakery, pharmacy and gas station. 

“We are here to provide our customers with their everyday groceries in a hassle-free environment,” store manager Philip Cook said in a statement.

The latest Neighborhood Market is 41,00 square feet, about the size of a regular supermarket but much smaller than a Walmart SuperCenter. The company said the latest location employs 95 full- and part-time workers. 

The biggest retailer in the U.S., Walmart is also the biggest grocer in the Charlotte area by retail sales, according to Chain Store Guide. It operates over a dozen Neighborhood Markets in North Carolina.