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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14 comments:

Steven Pearcy said...

Ely,
Quite frankly it was in an absolutely terrible location. That area is a nightmare for traffic, so you will only get vehicles heading west on Sardis Road. Also, the store itself was hidden, so the lack of exposure was going to be the death of it, Whomever decided to choose this location should be fired on the spot, and held responsible for the payments of this building, as this will sit like a white elephant.
This failure was all about location, not about concept. An area with high visibility, multiple accessibility in different directions, an area that can afford the higher cost, yet appreciates the convenience, and is in an a highly dense population, away from a Wal-Mart.

Swiss Farms can be successful in Charlotte, but I doubt they ever give it another go.

Ettolrahc said...

So that's what that was?

Sorry but the location, I thought it was an ice cream place or something.

But I rarely get by that location and if I had built it, it would not have been in that hole where you most likely can not get back out with as bad as the traffic was around that area.

Sorry Mike or who ever built this there. But it is like that place on up the road hidden down by the old super kmart you know it is going to close just about any time again.

Anonymous said...

This location was bound to fail. My parents live off of Sardis Rd. and I have traveled by this at least 4 times a week since it opened. Never bothered to go in for a few reasons; HT across the street, bad traffic area/connection, tend not to have to make short trips to the grocer. This might have worked somewhere else, but he had to know the fate of Carino's and the first phase of Gallaria is practically empty!

Anonymous said...

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

Anonymous said...

I went one time when I had a coupon for a free gallon of milk! Now I had already pegged it a concept that wouldn't work, but when the young cashier came out to my car, asked what I would like, and didn't asked if I wanted anything more to go along with my FREE gallon of milk I knew they were doomed.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunate, because this actually is something that works (in Pennsylvania), and could've worked here if it was put in a good spot. All posters are correct. The area is a flat-out dump, and a traffic cluster f***. Plus there is a WalMart and a Harris Teeter within spitting distance. Foolish. And my guess is that the "double drive-thru" will NOT be something that attracts another tenant anytime, ever.

Anonymous said...

Cookout would be a replacement. They use the double drive thru in some of there stores

Anonymous said...

Other than the fact that there is a Cookout about 500 yds from this place.

Anonymous said...

The location contributed a little although it is right off of Monroe Rd and the thousands of cars that go by every day.
The real problem is the business model. They have the same items that would be found in a convenience store. Who wants to pay premium prices so you can just stay in the car while someone shops for you. Maybe it is a northern thing but I don't see it working here.

Anonymous said...

I agree the location sucked...I need to be on a Monroe Road. Some folks simply don't do promper due diligence before opening a business. Hence, most fail within the first 5 years.

David said...

I agree with the comments about location. The building was surely too expensive for the location and the exposure was terrible. When my wife and I lived in California in the 80s drivethrough groceries were popular. They appealed to us because you could pick up the basics and not have to get your child out of the car seat.

Anonymous said...

I work in the area and noticed when they built this building, however, had no idea what it was. I assumed it was some type of fast food restaurant serving sandwiches. If I had known it was a drive-thru grocer I might have utilized it's services. Terrible job on location and marketing.

Anonymous said...

If NC had licensed beer drive throughs, it would sell tons of beer ,wine, chips and cigarettes and occasional gallon of milk.

Anonymous said...

I live in that area and tried it once. It was terrible. There is way too much competition for a niche store like that to survive. I am hoping a destination retailer like Starbucks or Tim Hortons will open a drive thru in that spot as no one will care what a mess it is to get in and out.