Thursday, March 27, 2014

First Publix open in Rock Hill, more to follow

Publix Super Markets opened its first store in Rock Hill this week, and the retailer has more openings planned this year throughout the Charlotte region.

The new Rock Hill store is on North Cherry Road, and opened Wednesday. It's the company's fourth Charlotte-area location, joining stores in Fort Mill, Indian Land and Ballantyne.

The next store Publix is scheduled to open is in McKee Farms Shopping Center, at the corner of Weddington and McKee roads in Matthews. Like the Rock Hill store, it's in a former Super BI-LO location. An exact date hasn't been set for the opening yet.

After that, the next stores planned to open in 2014 are on York Road in Steele Creek, on West Catawba Road in Cornelius, and Mint Hill Commons in Mint Hill. Six more are planned for 2015.

Check back for opening dates as they become available. You can see all of Publix's local stores here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New gun, tactical gear store opens in Gastonia

Carolina Tactical Gear, a store selling firearms and other supplies and apparel, opened this weekend in Gastonia.

Co-owner Mark Mauney, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, said he and his partners decided to open the store because they didn't feel there were good options to buy tactical gear nearby.

"You had to go to Charlotte or Asheville," said Mauney. He said they spoke with their law enforcement friends about what brands of clothing and other gear they would like to see in a store, and researched retail practices.

"It's a different avenue to go towards," Mauney said of retail vs. law enforcement. Getting the required federal licenses to sell firearms was one of the most challenging parts of the operation, Mauney said, and took about two months.

The store is located on South New Hope Road, near Armstrong Park Drive. It's open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hartigan's Pub is closing uptown

It's only been a few days since St. Patrick's Day, but Hartigan's Pub, an uptown spot on Cedar Street, plans to close Sunday.

The business, which has been around since 1996, posted a message about its plans on its Facebook page Wednesday:

The reality is that the building is getting older; and after 3 different landlords in 6 years, we are unable to sustain the financial and physical burdens of a more than 100 year old building. The plumbing, the heating and air conditioning, the electrical - it's all seen better days (and boy were those some great days It's time to close up shop and let the bar and the memories live on in our hearts.

We want to personally thank every single person that has supported and patronized Hartigan's over the past 6 years that we have owned it, as well as the many years before...We hope everyone will take the time to visit the pub this week for one last beer, one last dance, one last song, and most of all - one last goodbye.

Hartigan's has seen ups and downs. The pub hosted Maryland's delegation during the Democratic National Convention in 2012, and was the set for some of the filming for "Homeland." Hartigan's was also the scene of a fatal 2011 stabbing in which a woman was killed with a beer bottle.

Here's a story from Q Notes about the bar. A paragraph about Hartigan's history: "Originally opened in 1996, Hartigan’s was part dance club, part sports bar, part Irish pub and part restaurant. It attracted a diverse and unique clientele, with a mix of LGBT and straight ally patrons for lunches and dinners and women party-goers on the weekends. It often hosted special events for non-profit groups, including the annual Queen City Stomp over the past couple years."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Compare Foods to close in Rock Hill

A Compare Foods store is closing in Rock Hill, our sister paper the Herald reports, as new competitors open in the crowded grocery market.

The store on Cherry Road will close by March 31, though it could shutter earlier.

Publix is opening its first Rock Hill store on March 26, in a former BI-LO on Cherry Road, as the company works to expand into the Charlotte region. The company already has two other stores in South Carolina near Charlotte, and a new store in Ballantyne as well.

And Walmart is opening more Neighborhood Markets, stores that are about the size of a large supermarket. The company wants to build several Neighborhood Markets in Rock Hill, and already has approval for one on Cherry Road.

Here are some more details from the Herald: "Store manager Angel Tejeda said the store 'wasn't doing well and the owners decided to shut it down.'
The announced closing date is March 31 but the store could close soon “if we sell out before that,” Tejeda said.
Compare Foods opened the Cherry Road store in 2007. It is the chain’s only South Carolina location. The chain has stores in five states including six locations in Charlotte.
Tejeda said the store employs about 30 people, all but five or six of them full time. It has not been determined if the employees can work at other Compare Foods stores in Charlotte, he said.

So, with the same forces of increased competition at work in Charlotte, do you think grocery stores in the city might shut down over the coming years? If so, which ones?

Update: Planet Fitness has signed a lease for 29,500 square feet of the Compare store, which the company will make into a gym. Jonathan Stewart of the Providence Group represented Planet Fitness, and Kelly High with the Berry Company represented the landlord. The opening date for Planet Fitness has not been set.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Concord Mills to open Easter Sunday for first time

The Charlotte area's second-largest mall will open on Easter Sunday for the first time this year, according to a mall representative.

Concord Mills will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on April 20.

"Concord Mills' Easter opening will provide local shoppers and area visitors more time to shop and save,” said Ray Soporowski, general manager at Concord Mills, in a statement. "We look forward to meeting the needs of families who will choose to spend their day enjoying our unique brand of shopping with great retail, dining and entertainment options all under one roof."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Vans opening Carolina Place store

Skater shoe store Vans said it plans to open a new store in Pineville's Carolina Place mall later this month, its third area location.

Vans currently has a store in SouthPark and an outlet in Concord Mills, both of which are owned by Simon Property Group.

The Carolina Place Vans store is the mall's second new national retailer to open this year, following the debut of Swedish apparel retailer H&M in February.

In case you're not familiar with Vans, here's their description: "Vans is the original action sports footwear company and a leading lifestyle brand for today's youth market. Vans collections include active and performance footwear, apparel and accessories. Vans supports and promotes the action sports lifestyle through events such as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing™, the Vans Downtown
Showdown, and the Vans Warped Tour™."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Publix in Rock Hill to open March 26

A new Publix on Cherry Road in Rock Hill is set to open at 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 26, the company said Friday.

The store is located at 2186 Cherry Road, in the Cherry Road Crossing shopping center, Publix said. This is the company's first location in Rock Hill.

The 63,000 square foot store is a former Bi-Lo supermarket. 

Publix opened its first store in Charlotte last month, in Ballantyne. The grocer has plans to aggressively expand across the Charlotte area with a total of 14 stores over the next two years. 

Company officials said in a news release that the supermarket will "welcome customers and continue passing on the Publix spirit."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Steele Creek outlet mall set to open in July, tenant list takes shape

Charlotte Premium Outlets is set to open in July, a company official said Thursday, and though no list of tenants has been released, Internet listings shed some light on who's likely coming (list below).

The outlet mall, in southwest Charlotte just off I-485 and Steel Creek Road, is slated to have 400,000 square feet worth of stores, for a total of about 90 tenants. Tanger Factory Outlet Centers and Simon Property Group broke ground on the joint venture in September, after originally planning to build competing malls.

Simon spokesman Les Morris said the mall is still on track to open in July. But a list of stores isn't yet available, except for the store's previously announced anchor tenant, Saks 5th Avenue OFF FIFTH. That's where I turned to the secret weapon of reporters everywhere: The Internet.

There's a job listing here for a Brooks Brothers assistant store manager, with an opening date of July 31.

And construction project bids are listed here appear to show a wide range of stores planned for the Charlotte Premium Outlets, including: Kay Jewelers, Soma, Adidas, Rack Room Shoes, Talbots, Maidenform, Levi's Outlet Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Oakley Vault, Zumiez, Famous Footwear, American Eagle Outfitters, Carters and Oshkosh, Finish Line, Bath and Body Works, Fossil, Kenneth Cole, Guess Factory Store, Perfumania, Charlotte Russe, Perry Ellis, Haggar, Clark's Bostonian, Saks Off Fifth (announced), Aerosoles, Samsonite, New York & Company, Tommy Bahama, Ann Taylor, Polo Ralph Lauren, Aeropostale, Hanesbrands, Motherhood Maternity, White House Black Market, Chico's, Michael Kors, Van Heusen, Coach Store, Calvin Klein, DKNY, BCBG Max Azria, Sperry Topsider, Sunglass Hut, Rue 21, Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Factory Store, Bebe, Cole Haan, Bose and Skechers.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Food Lion adopts sustainable seafood

Salisbury-based Food Lion announced Wednesday that its seafood is now obtained from sustainable sources, which the company said will help the environment.

The new arrangement covers about 1,000 items of fresh, canned, frozen or packaged seafood.

"At Food Lion, we believe that we have a responsibility to protect seafood species for generations to come,” said Karen Fernald, Food Lion's senior vice president of merchandising, in a statement. “Through our policy, customers can trust that the seafood products they buy in our stores today are responsibly harvested."

Here's what the program entails, according to Food Lion:

    • Food Lion’s suppliers will provide full traceability back to the source fishery or seafood farm for seafood products sold.
    • Wild-caught seafood will come from source fisheries that are governed by credible, enforceable and science-based management plans that respect the amount of harvest to ensure seafood populations will continue to be healthy in the future.
    • Farm-raised seafood is certified and reviewed to ensure that production does not harm communities, workers, the environment or human health.
    • The Gulf of Maine Research Institute will confirm fisheries that supply our seafood are responsibly managed.
    • Monitoring and compliance measures are in place to ensure harvest levels are maintained within appropriate limits.
Food Lion is a subsidiary of Belgian grocery conglomerate Delhaize.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quiznos closed in Latta Arcade

Quiznos has closed in the Latta Arcade uptown, as the chain continues to struggle and reportedly prepares to file for bankruptcy.

Although there were still signs advertising fresh-sliced meats and toasted subs in the windows on Tuesday, the Quiznos location between Tryon and Church streets was dark and locked. All of the serving line equipment appears to have been removed.

A shop owner in the arcade told me the location has been closed for several weeks, but I didn't notice that when I went to Flavors of India for lunch last week (perhaps my powers of observation were weakened by a craving for samosas).

Quiznos is reportedly down to about 1,200 franchises nationwide, from a peak of about 5,000. The Wall Street Journal said last week that Quiznos is exploring a plan to file for bankruptcy protection.

The company first got its start with its toasted subs and its oddball commercials featuring rat-like creatures with distorted mouths, crazy eyes and bowler/pirate hatesinging the praises of Quiznos. If you want to be terrified, watch the video below of one of their TV spots:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gander Mtn. opening Steele Creek gun, outdoors store

Gander Mountain said Tuesday it plans to open a new store in the Rivergate South shopping center, as the firearms, hunting and outdoor provisions retailer continues a push into the Charlotte region.

The 45,600-square-foot store is set to open in late summer, the company said. "We are thrilled to bring a new Gander Mountain store to South Charlotte, and give more of our friends in the Queen City and the surrounding region opportunities to experience our top-quality gear and knowledgeable service at great prices," said CEO David Pratt, in a statement.

The company has recently opened new stores in Monroe and Gastonia. Outdoor supplies and firearm retailer Cabela's also announced plans to tear down the Plaza Fiesta mall off Interstate 77 in Fort Mill to build a 97,500-square-foot store on the site.

Gander Mountain will sell new and used guns at its Steele Creek store, along with apparel and supplies for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, archery and hunting.

Smoothie King looks to grow in Charlotte

Smoothie King is looking to open more franchises in North Carolina cities including Charlotte, and the company is offering franchisees a discount if they buy in bulk.

The company is planning for 60 more stores in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville and Wilmington over the next few years. To stimulate demand among franchisees, people who buy at least three franchises will get 40 percent off their franchise fees.

Smoothie King has an incentive program you can find more about here. Franchise fees start at $15,000.

But don't think you can necessarily plop down a little withdrawal from your 401(k) and start a Smoothie King: "The financial requirement to open a Smoothie King in the United States is $250,000 Net Worth with a minimum of $75,000 in liquid assets. We also require Sales, Marketing, Restaurant, and/or Retail Experience."

Initial costs are estimated to total $139,900 to $327,000, according to Smoothie King's website.

There are about 15 Smoothie King locations in the Charlotte area, and the company said it expects to grow here.

"Smoothie King has experienced accelerated growth over the past few years, which is why we’re continuing to focus our expansion efforts in communities across North Carolina where there is an increasing demand for our products,” said Smoothie King Global CEO Wan Kim, in a statement. “Based on the success of our franchisees in the market, we are confident our proven business model combined with our latest multi-unit development incentive program and ongoing support will provide local entrepreneurs with one of the best franchise opportunities in the smoothie segment."

Nationwide, the company said it plans to add 900 stores over the coming years, up from more than 500 now.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Expanded Haggar Clothing Co. opens at Concord Mills

The Haggar Clothing Co. has opened an expanded and renovated store at Concord Mills, the company said Friday.

The men's apparel company said its store opened Saturday at the outlet mall, between TJ Maxx and Best Buy in Neighborhood 4.

"This popular menswear retailer will offer Concord Mills shoppers an even greater selection of its iconic work apparel, casual wear and fashion accessories for less," said Concord Mills, in a statement.

Eddie Bauer Outlet, Off Broadway Shoes and American Eagle Outfitters Factory will open at the mall soon, followed by retailers including Buckle, J.Crew Factory, Torrid and Janie and Jack Outlet.