New Store Opening Is Good Sign
BY TED M. NATT JR.
Local officials hope that today’s grand opening of the new Harris Teeter grocery store in the Mill Creek Shopping Center is a sign of things to come near Moore County Airport.
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous convenience for Whispering Pines and the surrounding area, but I also think it’s going to be one of those anchor developments that could possibly draw some development in the future,” says Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce.
Coughlin, store director Dennis Brewer and the store’s management team planned to welcome the first customers during a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. today. The 53,000-square-foot store, which will employ 88 people, is between N.C. 22 and Airport Road in Southern Pines.
“It’s exciting to see new retail options in that part of the county,” Coughlin says. “I’m sure those folks that live in the area will appreciate not having to travel so far to shop for groceries and other items that they need.”
Although retail space is currently under construction on an out-parcel, there are no other announced tenants at the shopping center, which is being developed by Mill Creek Partners.
“I think with the new Harris Teeter opening and the rest of the shopping center not being filled, that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Coughlin says. “You need successful businesses in those out-parcels. It’s got to be done in stages. Things will come and go until you find that equilibrium.”
The new store includes a variety of sustainable, energy efficient designs and practices. Those include LED lighting on the frozen food and dairy doors, a white reflective energy efficient roof, and water-saving devices on the hand sinks and waterless urinals.
“Harris Teeter has always made energy savings initiatives a top priority,” says Danna Jones, a communication specialist at the company’s corporate headquarters in Matthews. “We strive to minimize the impact on the environment and promote sustainability in all aspects of our business.”
The Southern Pines location is the company’s second store in Moore County — the other is in Center Parking Shopping Center between U.S. 1 and U.S. 15-501 in Aberdeen — and 205th overall.
Jones adds that the location for the new store was chosen based on demand.
“We wanted to better serve our customers by expanding to Southern Pines,” she says.
Harris Teeter, a subsidiary of publicly traded Ruddick Corp., had an operating profit of $50.7 million in the third quarter of the fiscal year on sales of $1.1 billion, increases of 17.5 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively, over the same period last year.
For the 39 weeks ended July 3, operating profit increased by 10.2 percent to $146 million, from $132.5 million the previous year. Sales rose 6.4 percent to $3.18 billion from $2.99 billion for the same period last year.
Harris Teeter said in a news release that the increase in operating profit resulted primarily from the company’s increased sales and a continued emphasis on operational efficiencies and cost controls.
“Given the state of the overall economy, we remain cautious in our expectations for the remainder of the year,” Thomas W. Dickson, president and CEO of Ruddick, said in a statement. “Our customers have responded positively to our promotional activity. In addition, we continue to see a number of our customers increase their purchases of discretionary items.”
Mill Creek Shopping Center is essentially “across the street” from the Tyler’s Ridge at Sandhills mixed-use development, where ground will be broken later this year on the residential portion of the project.
“I think it illustrates that one project can attract another,” Coughlin says. “Obviously, we want them to fit and be well-planned.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at email@example.com.
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