Wednesday's grand opening of Publix in Evans is the latest in a recent boom of grocery store openings in Columbia County.
The 45,400-square-foot store anchors Riverwood Town Center at Washington Road and William Few Parkway.
More than 30 people stood in line at 6:45 a.m. for the store's opening after a ribbon-cutting.
The new store, which employs about 72, is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.
Several other grocery stores recently opened for business in Columbia County. Two Food Lions -- one in Martinez and another near Grovetown -- opened Oct. 21. A Grovetown Walmart opened Oct. 28 on Horizon South Parkway at Interstate 20.
Appling resident Joy Langley shopped for groceries Wednesday with her 1-year-old son, Jack. The shopping center is six miles from her home, and instead of driving 25 minutes to a grocery store, she now can make the trip in 10 minutes.
"This is a lot closer," she said. "This is probably the grocery store I'll (go to now)."
The new Publix is about four miles closer to Appling than the Evans Walmart.
"I think where we are is the beginning of the next concentric circle of development in Columbia County," said E.G. Meybohm, the president of Meybohm Realty, a developer of the project and the surrounding Riverwood Plantation residential community. "This is the next major development area."
Mr. Meybohm said he expects the store will attract residents from Appling, Harlem, and Lincoln and McCormick counties.
Developers have previously announced other businesses locating in the shopping center, including Great Clips; Sky Nails; White House Cleaners; Woody's Spirits; and Tao Restaurant, an Asian fusion eatery.
The 15-acre commercial side includes five out-parcels fronting Washington Road or William Few Parkway. Construction on a CVS Pharmacy, McDonald's and a planned professional development next to Riverwood Town Center is expected to start soon.
Reach Jenna Martin at (706) 868-1222, ext. 109, or firstname.lastname@example.org.