Friday, March 29, 2013

Belk has started $5.5 million Rock Hill store remodel

Charlotte-based Belk said it has started construction on a $5.5 million, major overhaul of its store in the Rock Hill Galleria, a project that will increase the store's size and add more merchandise.

The store's size will be increased by 20,000 square feet, bringing it to 100,000 square feet total. Belk said the store will remain open, although some departments have been relocated to the former Goody's store in the mall.

“We’re totally rebuilding our store from top to bottom to create an exciting new décor and shopping experience for our customers in Rock Hill and the surrounding community,” said Debra Niekamp, store manager, in a statement. “Our new store will reflect the latest in retail layout, decor and merchandise presentation, and we believe customers will love the new brands and style assortments that we’ll be adding throughout the store. In the meantime, we urge customers to be patient with us as our new store takes shape. We are doing all we can to minimize any inconvenience during the construction work.”

Belk has renovated several of its Charlotte-region stores, including the SouthPark and Carolina Place stores. The Carolina Place Belk renovation cost $5.5 million as well, while the SouthPark store's face-lift came in at $2.3 million.

The store in Rock Hill's grand reopening is set for October 16. The store will feature a shoe department that has been doubled in size, as well as larger jewelry, accessory, and handbag departments.

The Rock Hill Galleria Belk opened in 1991.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Microsoft will keep SouthPark store open

Microsoft said this week that it plans to keep a temporary store it opened last year in SouthPark mall for the holidays.

The kiosk-like store opened in October, one of several dozen the tech giant opened nationwide to drum up interest in its new products. The store offered an early glimpse at the Surface tablet and Windows 8, as well as video games and Windows phones.

Microsoft originally planned to keep the store open just for the holidays, but said Wednesday that it will stay open indefinitely.

"Based on the success of the Southpark Mall Microsoft Specialty Store, the store will remain open in 2013 and continue to provide consumers with the same choice, value and services they have come to expect," the company said in a news release. "The stores offer consumers the opportunity to interact with and purchase products including Microsoft Surface Pro with Windows Pro 8, Windows 8 Phones and Office 365."

Microsoft appears to be keeping about two dozen of its small-format "specialty stores" open nationwide, based on its list of locations.

Apple has two full-size stores in Charlotte, one in SouthPark and one at Northlake Mall.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Publix breaking ground in Ballantyne next Thursday

Florida-based supermarket company Publix plans to officially break ground on its first store in North Carolina next Thursday morning, at 10 a.m.

The company is the latest new entrant to Charlotte's grocery scene, following Whole Foods' debut in SouthPark last year. Publix plans to open numerous stores across North Carolina as the company expands north on the East Coast. The company opened its first two supermarkets in the Charlotte region last year, in South Carolina.

The Ballantyne Publix, on Providence Road West, is expected to open next year. The company's push into Charlotte, which also includes a planned store in South End and eventually an entire Charlotte division, comes as uncertainty swirls around the region's former leading grocer, Harris Teeter.

Matthews-based Harris Teeter announced earlier this year that it has hired bankers to explore a possible sale of the company. Analysts have speculated that Publix or another larger rival such as Kroger or Giant could be interested.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Golfsmith to give away $7,500 worth of prizes at grand opening

A new golf retailer is holding grand opening celebrations in Charlotte from Friday to Sunday, featuring free prizes and a $1,000 shopping spree giveaway.

Golfsmith is open at the Carolina Pavilion shopping center on South Boulevard. The location is the store's first in Charlotte. The 26,000-square-foot store features golf simulators and an indoor putting green, so shoppers can try out the latest equipment and work on their short game.

"North Carolina is a huge golf destination and Golfsmith is a golfer’s paradise. So we’re thrilled to expand our footprint to golfers that live here or visit these areas to play the game. Whether you are a scratch golfer or someone looking to get into the game for the first time, we offer the best selection of the biggest brands in a truly unique environment," said Golfsmith CEO Sue Gove, in a statement.

The company, based in Texas, plans to open eight more stores this year, including one in Greensboro. Golfsmith is filling in a void. Almost half of the nation's golf stores have closed in the past 10 years, according to the National Golf Foundation.

Here is the store's summary of grand opening events this weekend:

"When the store opens at 8:00 AM on Friday, the first 200 people in line will receive a free two-pack of premium golf balls and all customers will have a chance to register to win a $1,000 shopping spree which will be given away at 9:15am. On Saturday, the first 100 customers will receive a goody bag valued at more than $100, including a round of golf at a local course. All weekend long, customers can participate in contests and register for a chance to win prizes such as drivers, iron sets, GPS units and rangefinders. GolfTEC will also be hosting a group clinic on Saturday."

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Target opening three new in-store clinics

Target is opening three new Target Clinics locally this year, two in Charlotte and one in Concord.

The new clinics will be in the Northlake Mall Target on Northlake Centre Parkway, the Rivergate Target on Walker Branch Drive, and the Concord Super Target on Bayfield Parkway. They're scheduled to open in August.

The clinics offer 60 services, ranging from vaccinations and treatments for minor illnesses to earwax removal ($69 - $105, presumably depending on the amount of wax removed). There are also preventative services, such as cholesterol screenings and blood pressure checks.

The medical services at the clinics are provided by a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant in a private exam room. Target says many insurance plans will cover the services, but you'll have to check with your provider to see what's covered. Payments can be made with check, cash, credit card or Target gift cards.

There are no appointments, so patients/shoppers are seen on a first-come, first-serve basis. "If you would like to shop the store while you wait, please ask at the Target Clinic registration desk for a pager," Target suggests. Here's a FAQ with some more questions and answers about the clinics.

There are currently four Target Clinic locations in North Carolina, in Apex, Wake Forest, and Durham.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quail Corners signs two new tenants, finishes face lift

Quail Corners Shopping Center is wrapping up its $6 million redevelopment project, and developer CNL Crosland Commercial said this week that an Asian restaurant and children's cooking school have signed on as the newest tenants.

Joining the lineup of retailers at Quail Corners will be Umai Sushi & Asian Bistro and Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios. Umai will be 3,300 square feet, and will open in the third quarter of this year. The restaurant will serve Japanese, Thai, and Chinese food, with 100 seats and a patio area. Restaurateur Huy "Ricky" Zhao is opening the store.

Flour Power will open a 2,000-square-foot store in July. The company, which has a Raleigh location, will offer weekly classes for kids (and adults), as well as summer camps. Themes for the cooking classes will include "Thankful for Thanksgiving" and "Around the World in Five Days." Owner Susan Caldwell said the classes will build self-esteem, reinforce science, math, and reading, and teach kids an essential skill, cooking.

And after
Work has been ongoing at the Harris Teeter-anchored development since 2011. In addition to the newly-announced tenants, Wolfman Pizza and Salsarita's have reopened in a new location, McDonald's will open this month, and a new, 9,000-square-foot courtyard plaza will host weekly music outdoor on Saturdays starting in May (April). Harris Teeter expanded and remodeled as well.

Nearby residents had expressed worries about the addition of a drive-thru, saying they were worried about traffic. But the restaurant won approval. "Fast food often has a stigma because of perceptions of the worst stores, however bad examples reflect the neighborhoods in which they are located and we would expect a location at Quail Corners to be a strong, vibrant clean restaurant," Quail Corners notes in its online FAQ.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

David Yurman opening SouthPark store

Jewelry and watch retailer David Yurman plans to open a store in SouthPark mall this October, the mall said Thursday.

The new store will be 1,800 square feet, and located in the mall's Nordstrom wing. "The new store will feature the brand’s Gold, Silver, Silver Ice, Men’s, Cable Kids, Women’s and Men’s timepieces, as well as limited-edition pieces, pavé pinky rings and wedding collection," mall officials said in a news release.

The location will be David Yurman's only dedicated outlet in Charlotte, though the company has other authorized retailers throughout the region..

Ann Taylor is also reopening it's 4,500-square-foot store, next to Sephora, after an extensive renovation. The store will reopen in the spring of 2013, though an exact date isn't set yet.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Swiss Farms closes on Sardis Road North

Swiss Farms, a drive-thru grocer that opened last year in Charlotte with high expectations, has shuttered its Sardis Road North location and is looking to lease its barn-like building to another tenant.

Local franchisee Mike Lang had planned to open more stores in the Charlotte area, but said the Sardis Road North location wasn't getting the traffic it needed to stay in business.

"It just didn't work out," said Lang. The drive-thru grocery company is based in Pennsylvania, and its Charlotte store was its first in the area. Except for one store in New Jersey, it the first Swiss Farms location outside of Pennsylvania. "With just one store and a new brand, it's hard to start," Lang said of breaking into the Charlotte market.

The stores stock about 800 items, significantly less than the 40,000 or so you might find at a full-sized grocery store. But they carry the most popular items, as well as prepared food, in order to attract drivers who need to stop off for some eggs or milk on their way home.

Transactions at Swiss Farms average about one minute, with customers giving their shopping list to a clerk, who runs inside and gets the items and takes payment at the customer's car.

Lang said he hopes to lease the building to someone else soon. Building permits show it cost more than $529,000 to construct. The building's unique features, such as its double drive-thru, will hopefully help get a new tenant in quickly, he said.

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