Swiss Farms, a drive-thru grocery and convenience store, is building a store on Sardis Road in South Charlotte, and the owner plans up to a dozen more for the area.
The company is based in Pennsylvania, and this store will be the first Swiss Farms in Charlotte. In fact, except for one store in New Jersey, the Charlotte store is the first outside of Pennsylvania.
Located at 1431 Sardis Road North, near Sardis and Monroe Road, the store is being built by Choate Construction. It will be open in March. Swiss Farms will carry staples such as milk, juice, eggs, bread and butter, along with other grocery items, fresh coffee, beer, wine and prepared meals.
Owner Mike Lang said the store will stock about 800 items. That's far fewer than a store like Harris Teeter, which can carry around 40,000, but Lang said Swiss Farms concentrates on the most common items in the most common sizes. Fill-in trips for groceries or dinner on the drive home from work drive a large part of the business, Lang said.
Here's how it works. Customers pull up to one of the store's doors, where they're greeted by a clerk. "You pull up, say I need a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, whatever you need," he said. The person collects your items, bags them, brings them out to you, takes your payment, and you're done.
Transaction times average about one minute, Lang said. Customers, on average, come to the store about 2 1/2 times a week, he said.
Lang has lived in Charlotte with his wife for about seven years, and his three children attend school here. After working for years in "the corporate life," Lang, who used to own a wireless technology company, said he wanted to find a business he could run here.
With the rights to open Swiss Farms franchises in the Charlotte market, Lang said he hopes to open more stores soon, at a pace of two a year. The next location he plans will be in Lake Norman, said Lang. You can follow the new store's progress on Facebook here.
View Larger Map
|Photos courtesy Doug Smith|