Publix breaks ground for first N.C. supermarket

Before beginning construction on south Charlotte’s new Publix Super Market, company and city officials put on hard hats and grabbed shovels Thursday, March 28, to break ground on the first Publix location in North Carolina.

A crowd of about 40 people – made up of local residents, area leaders and Publix officials – joined together Thursday to celebrate breaking ground and to discuss the future of the company, which many in attendance hope involves opening more stores throughout the state.

The new grocery store will be part of the soon-to-be-built Ballantyne Town Center at the corner of Johnston Road and Providence Road West. It will be accompanied at the center by a number of other retail shops, with Publix representatives saying the store could open in early 2014. An exact date wasn’t announced.

Todd Jones, the president of Publix, said company leaders chose Charlotte for their first location in the state because of the vibrant community and room to grow.  There also will be another North Carolina location in the Dilworth area, but any future locations have not been selected as of now.

“This site has good access and visibility.  You can see why it’s attractive,” Jones said.  “We just hope the customers enjoy shopping with us. … We want to treat (the customers) like kings and queens.”

Although the company did not specify how many jobs they will bring to the Charlotte area, local leaders say the move is another positive step for the Queen City. Charlotte City Council Rep. David Howard said the area has added 6,000 jobs since 2008.  He also added that Ballantyne was the only area of Charlotte to see job growth during the recession.

Many Publix leaders spoke at the event on the quality, service and hard work they will bring to the area but also highlighted their efforts to work with organizations throughout the community.

“We’re much more than high quality work and high quality service … we do feel an obligation to give back to the community we serve,” said Chuck Roskovich, the vice president for the Charlotte Division of Publix.

To kick off their partnership with the community, Publix donated a truck full of food to Loaves and Fishes, an organization that works with 19 partners throughout Charlotte to fight hunger. The organization supplied around 126,000 people in Mecklenburg County with a week’s supply of food in 2012.

“We have great support and we feel like working with other folks we can do what everyone wants done,” Beverly Howard, the director of Loaves and Fishes, said.  “Everyone wants the hungry to be fed.”

According to Maria Brous, the director of media and community relations with Publix, this donation will be the first of many contributions the company will make locally.

“It’s important to embrace the community that has embraced us,” she said.

North Carolina will be home to the fifth divisional office for the Florida-based company, which also has locations in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

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