Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Publix to open Prosperity Village supermarket

Publix Super Markets, the Florida company marching into Charlotte, said Wednesday it plans to open a new store in the Prosperity Village Square development in northeast Charlotte.

The store will be 49,000 square feet, and Publix plans to open it in 2016. This will be Publix's 15th confirmed location in the Charlotte area, eight of which are now open (See a super-sophisticated map I modified below).

Publix has signed a lease for the new location in the shopping center. Rezoning for the 34-acre property the shopping center is located on was filed last year (see it here).

Bonus fact: The new Publix will be adjacent to a Harris Teeter and an ALDI store. You can't say Publix shies away from competition.

True story: There's no exact address for this store yet, because it hasn't been built, but Publix sent me the exact latitude and longitude for the store to create a map.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beau Outfitters now open on East Blvd.

Florida-based menswear store Beau Outfitters has opened a store on East Boulevard, focused on clothing and accessories appealing to the "sophisticated Southern gentleman."

The store, as we reported earlier, is in the former Maddi's boutique and gallery, in between Vestique and Pour Olive. This is Beau Outfitter's first store outside of its Jacksonville home.

Photos courtesy Beau Outfitters
Here's how the retailer describes itself: "The self-described traditional men’s outfitters opened its doors this week, unveiling a unique shopping experience for men in the Charlotte area. In the new 2,700 square foot space, the store features well loved brands such as Vineyard Vines, Scott Barber, Southern Proper, Smathers & Branson, Bill’s Khakis, Mountain Khakis, Yeti Coolers, Beretta, and many more as well as the large section dedicated to retail partner Southern Tide. The store offers an eclectic mix of timeless high quality apparel and gifts for “beaus” of all ages...focusing on the characterized versatility of the southern male seamlessly transitioning from the golf course to cocktails and dinner or from a day in the outdoors to an afternoon oyster roast."

The store has a partnership with Charlotte native Doug Alexander, of Old Dog Clothing, to feature custom clothing, furnishings, and made-in-North Carolina furniture.

“Our main goal is to create an environment that is not only great to look at but makes you feel
at home,” said Beau Outfitters co-founder Ryan Switzer, in an email. “We put forth a lot of effort to try to offer a unique shopping experience and to carry products that one couldn’t simply find at a department store or shopping mall."

Monday, October 27, 2014

ALDI opening Mint Hill store

Discount grocer ALDI plans to open a new store in Mint Hill on Thursday, Oct. 30, the company said.

The store will hold a preview event Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for customers to visit the store and get samples.  The new ALDI is located at 8000 Blair Road, Unit B.

“We look forward to introducing Mint Hill shoppers to ALDI, where they can find the majority of their average weekly shopping list from our exclusive brand products – including fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and bakery items – for up to 50 percent less,” said Scott Kornegay, Salisbury division vice president for ALDI, in a statement. “We are committed to bringing ALDI customers the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices in a simple and easy-to-navigate shopping environment.”

If you haven't shopped at ALDI before, here's what you need to know: You a quarter to rent a shopping cart (which you get back), there are no grocery bags for you (bring your own, or use boxes), credit cards aren't accepted, there's a smaller selection than at a traditional supermarket and ALDI's private label goods populate the shelves instead of national name brands. The company also has shorter operating hours - 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday - all in the name of cutting costs to offer lower prices.

The company has 1,300 locations in 32 states.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bean opens vegan market

Bean, the vegan eatery on Independence Boulevard, has opened an all-vegan market in part of its restaurant.

Called the Market @ Bean, the shop will have a grand opening Nov. 1 to celebrate World Vegan Day.

Here's what the owners said about it in a news release: "The store will be exclusively vegan and carry items from familiar brands like Vegenaise, Earth Balance, Go Max Go, Field Roast, Tofurky, Daiya and More. Featured sections include frozen foods, baking supplies, snacks and crackers, heat and eat, condiments and dairy alternatives. Ready to Eat food from the restaurant will also be available for purchase. The Store will be open the same hours as the restaurant, 11:30 am to 9pm Monday, Wednesday,Thursday and Friday; 10am to 9pm Saturday and 10am to 8pm Sunday. Both the restaurant and store are closed on Tuesday."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sears closing Gastonia store

The slow demise of Sears and Kmart continues, with the Gastonia store at the Eastridge Mall set to close for good in December.

The Gaston Gazette reported that the Sears began its liquidation sale last month. According to a list of Sears locations set to close nationwide compiled by Seeking Alpha, the Gastonia store is one of more than 100 locations the company is closing in the coming months.

Sears Holdings has struggled mightily in recent years with falling sales, losing hundreds of millions of dollars. The company said this week that it plans to close its store in King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania, and will sublease the space to Dick's Sporting Goods and clothing retailer Primark.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Fresh Market opening University City store in Nov.

The Fresh Market plans to open its University City store on Nov. 12. The grocer is renovating a former Food Lion store at the Mallard Crossing Shopping Center on Prosperity Church Road.

The new Fresh Market location. Photo courtesy Celeste Smith
The Fresh Market is based in Greensboro, and operates 163 stores in 26 states. The store on Prosperity Church Road will be The Fresh Market's 18th location in North Carolina.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beau Outfitters headed to East Blvd.

Beau Outfitters is opening a shop on East Boulevard in the former Maddi's Gallery space. The store is in between Vestique, a women's boutique, and upscale olive oil shop Pour Olive.

The new awning for the Beau Outfitters store on East Blvd.
Beau Outfitters is based in Jacksonville, Fla. They don't have any information posted yet about the Charlotte location, but here's what they say about their Jacksonville store:

"Beau Outfitters is Jacksonville's one and only refined-rustic men's retail store. We embrace the sporting lifestyle of Old Florida's southern roots and appeal to the gentlemen that reflect their passion for their lifestyle in their clothing. Located in the oak-engulfed strip of Avondale in Jacksonville's Riverside, our shop personifies the pre-Civil War plantation homes that once occupied the area along the St. Johns River.
Any beau will feel right at home upon their first step in this classic outfitters. We supply apparel and accessories for any occasion from hunting and fishing, to gameday tailgating, an afternoon boat outing, school, work, or just kicking your feet up. We also supply gear and knickknacks for a beau's best friend- his dog. So whether you're a beau or a belle shopping for your beau, make sure to come by and see us!"

More details to follow as they become available...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Whole Foods Lake Norman-area store opening Nov. 4

Whole Foods said Tuesday that the company plans to open its second Charlotte-area store on Nov. 4.

The grocery store is located in Huntersville, at the Northcross Commons shopping center at 9129 Sam Furr Road. The store is 35,000 square feet, on the small end for a supermarket. 

Whole Foods is offering preview tours of the location on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 for people who want to see the store early. The suggested donation of $5 will go towards Sow Much Good, an area non-profit that provides food for people who might not otherwise have access to fresh vegetables and fruits. You can RSVP online at to secure a 45-minute tour, which includes food samples.

The store will employ almost 150 workers, Whole Foods said. 

Whole Foods has one Charlotte store open in the SouthPark area, on Fairview Road. Thee company is planning for a third Charlotte store at Providence and Ardrey Kell roads. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anytime Fitness opening Pineville gym

Anytime Fitness is opening a 24-hour gym in Pineville, at the Perimeter Center South shopping center.

The company has signed a lease for a 6,250 square-foot space and expects to have the gym open in December. Franchisees Michael and Susan Gilder will operate the gym.

Although Anytime Fitness gyms are staffed for an average of about nine hours a day, members can access the gym anytime (hence, the name) with a key fob.

“What differentiates Anytime Fitness from other clubs is our focus on helping members get the results that they’re seeking,” the Gilders said, in an email. “We’re small enough that we can provide personalized attention for all of our members. Whether weight-loss is your goal, or increased strength or improved balanced and flexibility – or a combination – we’re committed to helping you achieve those goals.”

Here's what they say to expect at the new location:

"The layout of each club is designed for quick and effective exercise. At the Anytime Fitness club in Pineville, NC
members will have full use of top-quality equipment and amenities, including:
• Circuit and resistance training machines
• Free weights
• Cardio equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes
• Group fitness classes, including Zumba and yoga will be offered
• Virtual Fitness in Cardio room
• Private bathrooms, changing rooms and showers
• 2 Tanning rooms (packages available)
Prior to opening, Anytime Fitness is offering First 100 Members - No Enrollment Fee. Membership information is
available by calling 704-889-0800 or by emailing"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fresh to Order opening in Carolina Place mall

Fresh to Order, a "fast-fine" restaurant, plans to open its first North Carolina location in December at Carolina Place.

The company, founded in 2006, operates restaurants that serve food that sounds closer to a fine-dining than a fast food menu. The food is prepared fresh in 10 minutes, Fresh to Order says, and sells for around $10 an entrée.

“This will be the first of North Carolina location for us, and we think that a location at an established center such as Carolina Place is the right venue to introduce our restaurant concept in Charlotte,” said Pierre Panos, Fresh To Order CEO, in a statement. “We have targeted North and South Carolina for expansion and expect Fresh To Order to soon be a favorite dining spot for the communities we join.”

Here's a description of the restaurant, from Fresh to Order: "Fresh To Order, the pioneer of “fast fine” dining, combines chef-inspired cuisine, high quality ingredients and affordable prices...Fresh To Order’s menu highlights include almond crusted tuna steak, brown sugar roasted pork loin with caramelized onion apricot chutney and ‘better for you’ black bean and tuna burgers."

Tuna for the taking

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Publix to open Oct. 22 in southwest Charlotte

Publix Super Markets is opening its latest Charlotte grocery store on Oct. 22, the company said Thursday.

The store is located in the Whitehall Commons shopping center at 8120 South Tryon Street. This is Publix's eighth local grocery store to open. The company plans to have 14 stores in and around Charlotte open by late 2015, as Publix muscles into the local grocery market.

The Whitehall Commons Publix is a former Bi-Lo grocery store. Publix bought seven Charlotte-area Bi-Lo stores last year to accelerate its growth.

Publix is also ramping up its expansion in other parts of  North Carolina. The company is opening a store in Cary on Oct. 29.

Microsoft retail store opening Oct. 18 in SouthPark

Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on its first full-scale retail store in Charlotte, as the computer company prepares to open its SouthPark store Oct. 18.

The 2,261-square-foot store will be Microsoft's 104th retail location. The company has had a kiosk in SouthPark mall for years, but this is a fully-enclosed retail store - more like Microsoft's competitor and forerunner in the retail space, Apple stores.

Mecklenburg building permits show the store cost more than $4 million to renovate and build out. Microsoft has been investing heavily in its retail strategy, with plans to open 10 more stores before Black Friday and build a Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City.

The company has been training workers for its new SouthPark store for the past several weeks. Jonathan Adashek, Microsoft's general manager for communications strategy, visited Charlotte from Microsoft's Redmond, Washington headquarters Wednesday to prep for the opening. The Streets at SouthPoint in Durham has North Carolina's only other store.

A Microsoft store making college students smile
The first 1,500 customers in line for the 11 a.m. Microsoft store opening on Oct. 18 will receive two tickets for a Kelly Clarkson concert the following day, Sunday, Oct. 19.

I talked with Adashek for a little while Wednesday. Here are a few things he said to expect about the Microsoft store.
  • Expect a "curated selection" of the best devices made by Microsoft and other hardware makers, including laptops, Xboxes, computers, Windows phones and Surface tablets.
  • Come with any broken or malfunctioning device, anytime, and the Microsoft store's "Answer Desk" will do their best to fix it for you, no matter where or when you bought it.
  • The store will have a heavy emphasis on providing good customer service and well-trained employees. Microsoft is trying to build human connections people who have viewed the company as a faceless utility-like provider since the beginning of computing.
  • A panoramic video wall wrapped around the store's interior.
  • Two 96-inch TVs set up for people to play Xbox.
  • Every product with a screen will have a touch-screen.
  • The store will emphasize community involvement and events, with free computer classes, videogame tournaments and meeting space. To get an idea of what to expect, take a look at the event lineup at the Durham store this week:

    Thursday, October 9
    3:00 PM Teen Game Day/Computer Lab at the Library
    6:00 PM Easy ways to collaborate via the cloud
    Sunday, October 12
    1:00 PM Windows 8.1 Workshop
    Monday, October 13
    4:00 PM Office 365 Fundamentals
    5:30 PM Excel 101
    8:00 PM Microsoft Madden Mondays
    Wednesday, October 15
    6:00 PM Junior Game Developer Night
    Thursday, October 16
    3:00 PM Teen Game Day/Computer Lab at the Library


Monday, October 6, 2014

Vera Bradley outlet open at Concord Mills

A new Vera Bradley outlet is now open at Concord Mills, the designer's first such location in the state.

The store is located in the mall's Neighborhood 2, near the Guess Factory Store. Here's how Concord Mills describes it: Providing new fabrics and styles each season for more than 20 years, Vera Bradley creates colorful and feminine quilted cotton luggage, handbags and accessories to fit each woman’s personality and style. The iconic fashionable products are now available at affordable prices at the new Vera Bradley Outlet at Concord Mills.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Publix headed to Cotswold?

It seems there could be a Publix Super Market in the works for Cotswold, directly across Randolph Road from a longstanding Harris Teeter.

A rezoning application filed for the 2.2 acre site between Randolph and Colwick roads seeks permission to build up to 65,000 square feet of retail space, constructed above a parking garage. The site (map below) is currently occupied by a nearly 50-year-old office building. The rezoning application was filed in conjunction with Stiles, a Florida-based developer building several new Publix locations in Charlotte.

A Stiles representative couldn't immediately be reached. Jeff Brown, a lawyer representing the developer, said that the site is intended primarily for a grocery store, but declined to name the tenant. Publix spokeswoman Kim Reynolds said she could not confirm the possible location. The Florida-based grocer has a policy of not commenting on potential sites until a lease is signed.

Publix and Stiles have joined to build supermarkets in Ballantyne, Mint Hill and South End. Stiles opened a Charlotte office last year, in part to help facilitate Publix's planned spread across North Carolina. The company has announced locations for 14 planned supermarkets in and around Charlotte.

The rezoning site is directly across from a Harris Teeter, one of Publix's main competitors as it tries to muscle into Charlotte. But Publix hasn't been shy about locating near Harris Teeter. Its McKee Farms location in Matthews is directly across from a Harris Teeter, for example.

The proposed retail establishment in the rezoning site plan looks as though it would be similar to the Whole Foods in the SouthPark area, which also has parking located under a supermarket accessible by escalator and elevator.

A public hearing on the rezoning request is scheduled for Dec. 15.

Publix's planned Charlotte-area locations

Home South opens Rock Hill Galleria store

A new home goods store is open now at Rock Hill Galleria, the second area location for Home South.

The 30,000 square-foot store carries a variety of goods from kitchenware to food to home furnishing accessories.

Here's Home South's description of itself: "Merchandise categories available include tabletop accessories, kitchenware, home accents and decor, seasonal products, candles, ribbon, outdoor furniture and accessories, floral supplies, wine and local food products.  In preparation for the final months of the calendar year, Home South’s current inventories feature extensive winter and Christmas merchandise.   

The interior of the store
"We are thrilled to open our second Home South store at Rock Hill Galleria,” stated Grady Marsh of Home South.  “We feel Rock Hill Galleria is the perfect regional destination for our business, and we are excited to be serving the needs of the surrounding communities."
The Rock Hill Galleria location marks the company’s second operating store.  Its original store is situated in Charlotte, N.C.  The company was founded in 2013 by the operators of Carolina Pottery.
"We are pleased Home South has opened its doors at Rock Hill Galleria," stated Michael Wheat, managing director of leasing and marketing for Cypress Equities, the Galleria’s owner and managing agent.  "The addition of Home South introduces Rock Hill Galleria shoppers to a merchandise category we are confident will be warmly welcomed."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Beer tasting & growler shop to open in South End

Craft Tasting Room & Growler Shop is set to open Oct. 23 in South End, offering another craft beer option in Charlotte's rapidly-growing craft beer scene.

The 3,000 square-foot shop, located at 1320 S. Church Street, will also have a 1,000 square-foot beer garden. It's located next door to the Unknown Brewing Co., one of Charlotte's newer breweries. The store will serve "elevated yet simple bar bites."

The store will have 36 taps, half dedicated to local breweries and half to regional beers or special releases.

“I want to give Charlotteans a way to enjoy the taste and freshness of craft beer and special releases in a bar, as well as at home: growlers are the only way to do so at home,” said Dan Davis, the shop's owner, in a statement. “I was introduced to Growlers about five years ago, and I’ve seen the momentum build in the U.S. I’ve had this idea in my head for two years and I’m excited that I am finally able to bring it to fruition.”

Here's the store's description of itself: "The shop will sell growlers in two sizes: 64 oz. and 32 oz. Patrons may buy a growler and refill it as many times as they want. Unlike some shops, Craft Growler Shop patrons may exchange any size empty for any size full at no extra cost. 

Local is important to freshness, and the sense of community (Dan) wants to build. He will partner with local breweries, cheese makers, and farmers to pull together their labors of love and infuse it in the shop.

The shop is created to practically be an adult candy store for beer lovers, foodies and party hosts. Patrons can add an eclectic touch to his/her cocktail hour, party, picnic or gift by simply choosing an item from the shop. It’s not an average grocery store."