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Publix to open location in Mint Hill


Publix Super Markets Inc. revealed plans Monday for a new store in Mint Hill, marking the fifth time in less than two years that the privately held supermarket has announced expansion plans in the Charlotte area.

The new location will sit at the intersection of Matthews-Mint Hill and Lawyers roads in a new shopping center called Mint Hill Commons. The center will be developed by Stiles Corporation, a Florida-based commercial real estate firm.

Publix expects the new location to open in late 2014, but a spokeswoman for the company could not provide details for how many new jobs the store would create.

She said historically, Publix will transfer some current employees to the new location to retain the company’s culture. But she added that Publix will look to add new jobs in North Carolina.

The planned 49,000-square-foot store – which will include a drive-thru and pharmacy – again suggests Florida-based Publix is serious about expanding into Charlotte. The company is also opening a Charlotte office on West Tyvola Road, with a divisional vice president who will supervise the new North Carolina locations.

Two other North Carolina locations were announced in 2012. The first, in Ballantyne, at Providence Road West and Johnston Road, will open in early 2014. The second, in Charlotte’s South End at South Boulevard and Iverson Way, will open in late 2014.

Merchants in the Magnolia Plaza retail center in Cornelius have said they’ve been told they’ll have to move to make way for a new Publix there. A spokeswoman for Publix said she could not confirm that.

And the company made its first moves into the Charlotte area in October, opening a store in Fort Mill, S.C., and another in Indian Land, S.C.

A Publix spokeswoman said last year that North Carolina is the No. 1-requested state for the supermarket to enter.

Publix comes to the area as competition in the Charlotte grocery market stiffens, at both high-end and low-end segments. Walmart Neighborhood Market and Whole Foods have opened Charlotte locations, while Target and Family Dollar have renovated their stores to offer more food selections.

The new store also comes on the heels of news earlier this month that Matthews-based Harris Teeter is being acquired by Kroger. Competition from rival grocers such as Publix was said to have influenced Harris Teeter’s decision to sell.

Publix officials have previously said their chain, which has more than 1,000 locations throughout the South, will continue to expand aggressively in Charlotte, pursuing many of the same customers as Harris Teeter.

And Publix will now have to work to capture the customer-base of other supermarkets, such as Walmart, with 20.4 percent of the Charlotte market, and Food Lion, with 17.4 percent of the market. Harris Teeter holds 23.7 percent of the market.

According to supermarket experts, Publix is viewed as a tough competitor, and has thrived when competing against other stores. Experts have previously said that Publix contributed to Food Lion’s 2012 decision to close all Florida stores and to Winn-Dixie’s bankruptcy.

McCabe: 704-358-5197; Twitter: mccabe_caitlin
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