Monday, September 29, 2014

Green Brothers Juice Co. open in Bank of America Plaza

A new juice bar is open in Bank of America Plaza: Green Brothers Juice Co., developed by a pair of
Charlotte brothers.

Jason and Josh Norris opened their store last week. Josh said his older brother Jason got the idea while commuting regularly between Charlotte and Austin, where he saw a profusion of juice bars. He couldn't find a comparable healthy juice option in Charlotte, so the brothers decided to start one of their own.

"We believe that people underestimate how amazing they feel when they consume amazing nutrition," said Josh. "Our goal is to provide quick and easy access to healthy juices and smoothies, which is crucial to combating the fast food culture that pervades much of America."

Here is the brothers' description of the store: "Green Brothers features ridiculously fresh and organic juices, superfood smoothies and nutrient packed shots that taste as good as they feel!"

Their hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Their goal is to have three Charlotte locations open by the end of next year.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Walmart hiring 95 for Waxhaw grocery store

Walmart is hiring 95 workers for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store planned in Waxhaw, the company said.

The store will be at 2524 Cuthbertson Road, Walmart said. There's no exact opening date set, but the supermarket is expected to open this winter. Most of the new associates hired will start work in December.

The store has set up a temporary hiring center to accept applications at 101 Waxhaw Professional Park Drive, Suite F, open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. People can also apply online at

Walmart opened its first local Neighborhood Market last year on Independence Boulevard. The company is planning more stores in Charlotte, Pineville, Concord and Rock Hill. Neighborhood Market stores are the size of a large supermarket, significantly smaller than the company's well-known SuperCenters. They represent Walmart's biggest push into the grocery space in recent years, as the mega-retailer tries to cut into traditional supermarket operators' market share.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

RUSH by Rush Espresso opens uptown

RUSH by Rush Espresso, a spinoff of the popular Ballantyne Village Café, is now open uptown, in Brevard Court.

Owner Paul McConaghy said RUSH is a smaller version of Rush Espresso, with a focus on pastries, coffee and fast service. Targeted at businesspeople going to work or taking a break, the café has a smaller menu than Rush Espresso - no breakfast paninis, for example - and more limited seating, with 12 chairs inside and eight outside.

"This is a business-oriented, grab-and-go café," said McConaghy. RUSH has 30 pastries, 20 of which are baked fresh on site and 10 of which are from local bakeries. Like Rush Espresso, the café serves Lavazza coffee.

Marla Sessoms of Legacy Real Estate Advisors represented RUSH.

RUSH joins Pho Plus and Melt In Your Mouth Cupcakes as the newest Brevard Court eatery. For now, RUSH is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but McConaghy said he's exploring weekend hours.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Back Yard Burgers seeks a return to Charlotte

A burger franchise that left Charlotte during the recession is looking to make a comeback locally, Back Yard Burgers CEO Dave McDougall said.

"Charlotte is a market that we obviously had some good presence," McDougall said. "Unfortunately, some things didn't go so well for our franchise operator so we're not there now."

The company has restaurants in Raleigh and Greenville, S.C. Back Yard Burgers was battered by the recession, and went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company emerged in 2013 with plans to start growing again.

Now, McDougall said he plans a "concerted push" to get Back Yard back in Charlotte, hopefully within a year.

"It's really about finding the right operator to get that brand going again," said McDougall.

You might have noticed that the Charlotte burger scene isn't exactly hurting for new entrants. From Five Guys to Smashburger, the fast-casual segment of burger restaurants has grown rapidly in recent years. Some local eateries, such as Nom Nom Burgers, have closed their doors, while others, like Bad Daddy's, have flourished.

McDougall said Back Yard's wide range of menu options, which also include chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers and salads, will help distinguish it, as will ingredients such as candied bacon and a drive-thru at every store.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Huntersville Publix to open Oct. 9

Publix Super Markets plans to open its newest local grocery store Oct. 9 in Huntersville, the company said.

The store, which will be Publix's sixth in the region, is located at 9815 Rose Commons Drive. Publix is opening another store in the Steele Creek area on Oct. 1, in a former Bi-Lo store at 12810 South Tryon St.

Publix plans to open a total of 13 local stores in Charlotte.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Food Lion offers hungry families meals for apple purchases

Salisbury-based Food Lion has launched a promotion to give meals to hungry families when customers buy gala apples.

For each bag of specially-marked gala apples, Food Lion will donate five meals to food banks in the grocer's 10-state footprint. The 3-pound bags of apples are priced at $2.99, Food Lion said. The promotion runs through Oct. 7, and Food Lion said it will donate 1 million meals (That's 200,000 bags of apples, if you're keeping track).

Food Lion is a subsidiary of Belgian grocery conglomerate Delhaize. The company has 1,100 stores, primarily in the Southeast, and has been trying to bounce back among stiff competition from grocers such as Publix, Walmart and Harris Teeter.

Here's how Food Lion describes itself now: "By leveraging its longstanding heritage of low prices and convenient locations, Food Lion is working to own the easiest full shop grocery experience in the Southeast, anchored by a strong commitment to affordability, freshness and the community it serves."

Friday, September 19, 2014

Salsarita's opening new store prototype Sept. 29

Charlotte-based Salsarita's is opening a new restaurant in Indian Land on Sept. 29, with a new floor plan and design that's meant to be the prototype for all new Salsarita's.

Company owner Phil Friedman says customers will notice a more muted color palette, better lighting and a new curved service line setup for ordering food. The 80-seat fast-casual Mexican restaurant restaurant is in the Cross Creek Shopping Center at Doby’s Bridge Rd. & Hwy. 521, in front of Publix.

"We took a lot of time re-investigating the prototype," said Friedman. "It's another chapter."

He said the design process for the new store took longer than expected, as the company focused on details such as which light bulbs make fresh food on the line look best.  

"The prototype was a little harder than I thought it would be," said Friedman. "Once you get into it, it's more than you think. It's like buying a new house."

Director of marketing Yanira Castro said the new restaurant design is meant to pay homage to Salsarita's green and purple colors, but in a more muted, modern way. The restaurant also has an awning, meant to be recognizable from afar, like Panera. 

Salsarita's currently has more than 70 restaurants in 17 states. Now, Friedman, who bought the company in 2011, wants to expand Salsarita's out from Charlotte focusing on markets in a three-hour radius of the city. The company is searching for franchisees and hopes to reach a growth rate of 30 to 40 new units a year, Friedman said.

"This year we're really starting to attract and sign the people we want who can develop markets," he said. Eventually, he said Salsarita's could be a strong regional chain with up to 500 locations. A grand opening for the Indian Land store is set for Oct. 3, with giveaways including a pair of Panthers tickets.
Salsarita's new logo (above)

Salsarita's old logo

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rhino Market, cooking supply store come to Morehead Street area

A new market and deli similar to Charlotte favorite Common Market is headed to West Morehead Street. A few blocks away, a new cooking supply store is now open on Bryant Street as well.

Rhino Market & Deli, at 1500 West Morehead Street, is the product of Common Market SouthEnd manager Rob Rondolez.

"My vision is to create a place that brings together the communities of Camp Greene, Wesley Heights and Bryant Park and offers them a place to gather for breakfast, coffee, lunch or drinks,” said  Rondolez, in a statement.
Here's how the new store is described: "The 2,700 sq. ft. store located behind The Burger Company and Picante Mexican Grill in between the Buddhist Center and Charlotte Fencing Academy will have similar offerings as Charlotte’s two Common Market locations, including a full service deli, breakfast and coffee, wine, beer and other convenience items. The market will have capacity to host small events and bring in live entertainment such as bands, DJs and wine tastings, etc. The family-friendly space will offer outdoor seating and a place for local farmers to set up stands.
Rhino Market & Deli has been looking at Wesley Heights over the past year and started interior upfit earlier this month. Depending on permitting, the store will open by year’s end. A grand opening date has not been announced."

Carolina Cooks Food Service and Equipment Supplies is now open nearby at 1451 Bryant Street. Here's a description of the new store, which is open to the professional and amateur food service folks: "Carolina Cooks is a 31,000 square foot warehouse including a 10,000 showroom at 1451 Bryant St., is open to both restaurateurs and the public. Home chefs will be able to get restaurant-quality supplies including gourmet pots and pans, appliances, Green Egg grills and furniture (stools, outdoor dining, etc.). Restaurants will be able to buy a full array of restaurant equipment. The store will have a chef on staff and is planning some demonstration events starting this fall.
Owned by local native, Kristina Cook Bortle, and her husband, Kelly, they are relocating and doubling the size of their business in FreeMoreWest because of exposure and proximity to uptown Charlotte and Johnson & Wales University, as well as the concentration of respected restaurants in the corridor such as Savor Café, Pinky’s Westside Grill and The Burger Company.
“We loved the growth of the community and how much is happening on the West side,” said Kelly Bortle, in a statement. “Our store should be a lot of fun for the area.”


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Appliance store, gym headed to University City

University City Partners is reporting that an appliance and furniture store and a large gym are slated for a former Walmart store on JW Clay Boulevard.

The appliance and furniture store is Conn's, a smaller chain of stores with more than 80 locations from Arizona to South Carolina. Conn's would be 45,000 square feet, according to leasing information and a site plan posted online. The company has been trying to expand, including in the Carolinas. Conn's sells appliances, electronics and furniture, and offers in-house financing and rent-to-own plans.

The property is being leased by Tricor Partners, and you can view the listing online here. The other listed tenant is Titan Fitness, which operates several area gyms under the Fitness Connection name. The gym would take 60,000 square feet in the shopping center.

Here's what University City Partners wrote about the shopping center: "Florida-based Tricor International bought the 126,397 SF building and its 15.6-acre site at University Place in August 2013 for $5.4 million, tax records show. Tricor renamed the property the Shoppes at University Commons. Sales materials say that the building can be expanded by 26,583 square feet. “Additionally, +/- 15,000 SF of retail shop space is planned,” the marketing brochure says. The brochure notes that three spaces remain available to lease: 36,256 SF, 7,905 SF and 8,000 SF. All can be subdivided. Unless Tricor undertakes massive changes, the site should require no rezoning for new tenants. However, because the property is within University Place, the site is under review by the University Place Owners Association.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Publix in Steele Creek to open Oct. 1

Publix's newest Charlotte supermarket is set to open Oct. 1, the Florida-based company said Tuesday.

The store, in the Steele Creek Crossing shopping center at 12810 South Tryon St., will be Publix's fifth supermarket open in the Charlotte region. The company has three more stores set to open this year and five planned for next year, for a total of 13 locations.

The Steele Creek location was a former BI-LO location. Publix started overhauling it earlier this year. The finished store will employ 125.

Publix is entering an increasingly crowded local grocery market, with companies from Walmart to Whole Foods to Harris Teeter opening new locations and aggressively competing for customers' business.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Captain D's expanding in Charlotte

Captain D's, the fast-seafood chain, is planning to launch an expansion in Charlotte, the company said.

Captain D's is preparing to open 20 new stores in Charlotte over the next three to five years. As part of the chain's growth plans, Captain D's is looking at Charlotte as a "city hub," a spokesperson said. Captain D's currently has about eight Charlotte locations, so that would represent a major expansion of their local presence.

There's no information about exact locations yet, but we'll let you know when the Captain sails into town.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Affluence Home Fashions opens in Charlotte

A new fine linens store has opened in southwest Charlotte, offering pillowcases, sheets and more.

Affluence Home Fashions is open now off of South Tryon Street. The company held its grand opening last week. This is the company's first retail location (Affluence previously sold goods online, which it continues to do), and it will feature discounts and closeout sales.

Affluence's store
Here's Affluence's description of itself: "Affluence Home Fashions is a purveyor of fine linens, located in the Charlotte, NC area. Backed by decades of experience in the textile industry, our company brings you high-quality linens in the colors and weaves to make your bedroom your very own sanctuary and retreat. When you purchase sheets and bedding from Affluence Home Fashions, we make it our goal to ensure your complete satisfaction. Our customers are continually pleased by the superior quality of our products, and enjoy the quick shipping and excellent customer service."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

American Girl to open Oct. 11 at SouthPark

American Girl is set to open its first Charlotte store on Saturday, Oct. 11 at SouthPark mall.

The store will of course feature a wide selection of dolls, accessories and clothing. And American Girl will also  offer a full range of doll services, from a doll hair salon to a "Creativi-tees" boutique where kids can design shirts for themselves and their dolls. There's also a 25-seat "casual bistro" with tea service.

The store is in the Macy's wing of SouthPark.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Northern Tool relocates Matthews store to Charlotte

Northern Tool + Equipment has relocated its local store from Matthews to an expanded location in Charlotte, on Sardis Road North in Crown Point Plaza off Independence Boulevard.

The Minnesota-based company sells, as you might guess, tools and equipment, ranging from fuel transfer pumps to pressure washers to drill presses. There are about 80 Northern Tool locations nationwide, including four in the Charlotte region.

Here's what the company has to say about the new store: "The customer experience is key to Northern Tool + Equipment’s success,” said Wade Mattson, vice president of marketing for Northern Tool + Equipment. “The relocated store features the latest and greatest from Northern Tool + Equipment, and offers everything from value-priced to top-of-the-line name brand tools. It also has a simple store design that gives local residents the shopping experience they deserve.”

The store is 13,410 sales square feet and will offer more than 8,000 products, including a complete line of pressure washers and accessories, generators, hand, power and air tools, trailer parts and accessories, material handling, automotive, and apparel."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ballantyne Village opens new local marketplace

Ballantyne Village is opening a new market featuring local food and artisans. Called 3H Market, for homegrown, homemade and handmade, the market will be open twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday.

Here's what Ballantyne Village has to say about the new market: "3H Market is here every Tuesday and Saturday, and it features homemade, homegrown and handmade items from local vendors. You'll find everything from local produce to grass-fed beef to candles and chocolates. It's located between Burger 21 and Abraham Joseph Fine Jewelers. Visit with us often as the selection and variety will change each week."