Friday, December 19, 2014

Alltel stores reopen as AT&T

More than a year after AT&T closed its $780 million acquisition of Alltel's operations, some Alltel stores in the Charlotte region are reopening as AT&T locations.

AT&T spokesman Josh Gelinas said in a statement that the transition will help integrate the companies more.

"Rebranding Alltel’s retail stores is just the first step. AT&T has also upgraded the former Alltel network in North Carolina to combine the strength of Alltel’s local coverage with AT&T’s 4G LTE network, the most reliable 4G LTE network in the nation, covering more than 300 million people.3 In early 2015, more than 60,000 former Alltel wireless customers here will begin using new devices that work on AT&T’s network. AT&T will let customers know when it’s time to activate their new devices," wrote Gelinas.

The stores included in the AT&T rebranding are located in:

- Conover: 1217 N. Hwy. 16

- Hickory: 1960 Hwy. 70

- Laurinburg: 969 U.S. Hwy. 401 S.

- Lenoir: 825 Blowing Rock Blvd.

- Rockingham: 1788 E. Broad

- Wadesboro: 220 Walton Dr.

More information about the switch from Alltel to AT&T is available online at

Thursday, December 11, 2014

High-end bridal shop coming to Myers Park

A new bridal shop called Winnie Couture plans to open soon on Selwyn Avenue, the company said this week.

The store, located at 2909 Selwyn Ave., is 2,500 square feet. Winnie Couture and plans to open around Christmas, though an exact date hasn't been set.

Winnie Couture was founded by bridal designer Winnie Chlomin Lee and Chris Lee, a husband-and-wife team.

"We want to bring a variety of options to the brides in Charlotte," said Chris Lee, in an email. "There's nothing like this."

The Beverly Hills-based company has stores in California, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta. In Charlotte, Winnie Couture was represented by Misty Zban of Kuester Real Estate Services, while Collett broker Charles Thrift represented the landlord.

A dress from Winnie Couture

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Publix opening Mint Hill store in January

Publix Super Markets has set a Jan. 7 grand opening for its Mint Hill store, the Florida-based company said Monday.

The company's  newest store is located in Mint Hill Commons, a shopping center at 6828 Matthews-Mint Hill Road. Like many of Publix's new Charlotte locations, that's directly across from its main competitor, Harris Teeter.

This will be Publix's ninth local store. Next up on the grocer's list of stores to open: Cornelius, South End and Lake Wylie, followed by Rock Hill, Concord and north Charlotte. By early 2016, Publix will have 15 stores in the Charlotte area, as well as stores in Asheville and Cary.

Publix's locations in the Charlotte area. Mint Hill is No. 9 on this map.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Walmart opening supermarket in Kings Mountain

Walmart plans to open its newest Neighborhood Market grocery store next week in Kings Mountain, as the mega-retailer continues to expand its supermarket business.

The Neighborhood Markets are typically about the size of a traditional supermarket. That's much smaller than a SuperCenter, but, Walmart says, easier and more appealing to shop. The Kings Mountain store is 41,000 square feet, and will employ about 95 people.

The store is set to open Wednesday morning. A grand opening from 12 to 3 p.m. Saturday will feature face painting, cupcakes and free food samples.

Such stores are letting Walmart go head-to-head with grocers more aggressively. In Kings Mountain, Walmart Neighborhood Market will be up against Ingles, Food Lion and a few local food stores.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Revolutions bowling to open at Rock Hill Galleria

The Rock Hill Galleria will soon have new options for bowling and dining, with Revolutions set to open there on Friday.

The 40,000 square-foot business will have 20 bowling lanes, a sports amphitheater with wall-to-wall televisions, a video arcade with more than 50 games, a full-service restaurant, a bar and live entertainment.

“We are truly excited to join the Rock Hill community and open a new and exciting venue to everyone south of Charlotte,” said Bruce Frank, CEO of Revolutions' parent company Frank Entertainment Group, in a statement.

Here's how Rock Hill Galleria describes Revolutions: "Open for both lunch and dinner, Revolutions offers a dining menu of heavy hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, burgers and New York-style pizza. The bar showcases more than 20 draft beers, specialty cocktails, bottle service and a custom wine list.

The opening of Revolutions is just the latest in Rock Hill Galleria’s growth, as the shopping center has now announced the addition of more than 95,000 square feet of newly leased retail space during the fourth quarter of 2014 alone. Supplementing the opening of Revolutions, Rock Hill Galleria recently welcomed Home South, a 30,000-square-foot store featuring affordable home furnishings and d├ęcor that exude southern style.

“We are pleased to welcome Revolutions, the newest addition to Rock Hill Galleria,” stated Michael Wheat, managing director of leasing and marketing for Cypress Equities, the Galleria’s owner and managing agent. “The introduction of Revolutions expands Rock Hill Galleria’s draw by adding a new entertainment element to our more traditional retail offerings.”   

The mall is anchored by Belk, Sears and JCPenney.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Swoozie's opens Sharon Corners boutique

Upscale gift boutique Swoozie's has reopened in Charlotte, with a new store in the Sharon Corners shopping center across from SouthPark mall.

The company had closed its Charlotte stores in Morrison Place and Blakeney in 2010.

“We’re thrilled to be back in Charlotte and serving our loyal customers again,” said Ashley Plank, marketing director for Swoozie’s, in an email. “Charlotte’s strong economy and our familiarity with the market are what brought us back. Now we’re stronger than ever with the merchandise and exceptional service our Charlotte customers count on from Swoozie’s.”

The company sells jewelry, monogrammed scarves, stationery, invitations, stickers, drinkware, Christmas ornaments and a wide variety of other gifts and party supplies.

Here's how the company describes itself and its new store: "The company prides itself on building long-term relationships with its customers and creating a go-to place where busy, socially-engaged women can find unique gifts and party planning supplies for all types of celebrations – from cocktail parties to children’s birthdays – under one roof. Much of Swoozie’s merchandise can be customized in store including totes, glassware, jewelry, invitations and stationery.

Swoozie’s returns to Charlotte after closing two local stores back in 2010. Nearly all of the new store associates worked at the previous locations in Charlotte so they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of Swoozie’s, its product lines and the local customer base.

The retailer has experienced a successful rebirth in recent years following its acquisition by Denver-based private equity firm Gart Capital Partners in 2010. Today, Swoozie’s has nine locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina, and continues to look at new markets for expansion."

The company is having a grand opening on Thursday, Dec. 11, featuring discounts on some items from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pat Sajak looking to bring daily deal site to Charlotte

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak and business partners are looking to expand their daily deal site to Charlotte, as they seek to grow in a crowded section of the online market.

The new deal site is called Great American Deals, and they want a franchisee to expand the concept to Charlotte.

Daily deal sites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, offer deals for deep discounts at local retailers and restaurants. Users can buy those deals (think 50 percent off a local eatery) and redeem them at the retailer. The daily deal site takes a cut, and the retailer, in theory, drums up more business.

But such sites have struggled, as retailers and restaurants often have a hard time attracting repeat customers who want to come back for more than just the deal.

"They've been less successful at...cultivating new customers," said Sajak.

That's where Sajak said Great American Deals has an opportunity: the national sites suffer from "a lack of boots on the ground." By fielding local franchisees who know their cities, instead of national sales staffs, Sajak said they can get better deals more likely to benefit local businesses.

Under the company's business model, Great American Deals operates the website and handles the technology, while local franchisees gather and sell the daily deals. Great American Deals also donates $1 from each deal sold to a local school or charity.

The site is currently up and running in seven California communities, including Huntington Beach and Santa Monica. Sajak said Great American Deals is looking to grow, seeking expansion in cities such as Charlotte, Dallas and Phoenix. Sajak said the gradual roll-out has helped Great American Deals make sure its technology is functional.

"You have to be sure the darn thing works. Ask the Obamacare people," he said.

The franchise fee for Great American Deals is $35,000, with a total initial investment forecast to be between $49,500 and $71,250.