Today's grand opening of a Publix in Columbia County is the latest in a recent boom of grocery store openings in the county.
The 45,400-square-foot store, the third Publix in the county, anchors Riverwood Town Center at Washington Road and William Few Parkway.
"The new store will serve the growing communities around Windmill Plantation and Riverwood as well as the outlying areas near Lake Thurmond," Publix media and community relations manager Brenda Reid said in a news release.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Publix was held at 6:45 a.m., and the first 1,500 customers at the store are to receive a free Publix reusable grocery bag, according to the release.
Upon entering the store, customers also were to receive flowers while supplies last, and the first 25 shoppers who purchase $25 or more in groceries will win a free bag of groceries worth $25, according to the release.
Other grand-opening activities will take place from 3-8 p.m.
"The new store format will be the first of its kind in Columbia County," Reid said.
The new store opened with about 77 employees. The store's hours are from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.
Several grocery stores have opened for business in the county in recent weeks. Two Food Lions -- one in Martinez and another near Grovetown -- opened on Oct. 21. A Grovetown Walmart opened on Wednesday and anchors The Gateway shopping center on Horizon South Parkway at Interstate 20.
Riverwood Town Center is a joint project by Meybohm Commercial Properties and Crosland LLC, based in Charlotte, N.C.
Other businesses locating in the Publix-anchored shopping center include Great Clips, Sky Nails, White House Cleaners, Woody's Spirits and Tao Restaurant, an Asian fusion eatery, said Gwen Glaeser, a Crosland leasing associate.
"We're (also) hoping for a deli and sub user, and then there'll be, hopefully, a national fast-foot chain on one of the out-parcels," she said.
The 15-acre commercial site includes five out-parcels fronting either Washington Road or William Few Parkway. Breaking ground on a CVS pharmacy at the shopping center should happen soon, Glaeser said.
"There's a couple of other things that we have going on, which will be nice additions to the center, but I just can't name them at this point," she said.