Home décor and furniture chain Carolina Pottery has opened its Martinez store.
The family-operated company held its grand opening Thursday at the former Kmart storefront at 3830 Washington Road.
Kmart closed in September at West Town Shopping Center, leaving the space vacant for nine months. Carolina Pottery opened earlier this month.
The 95,000-square-foot store carries furniture, decorative and accent pieces, lawn and garden products, glassware and floral items. A wine and food department will also be offered, Chief Operating Officer Grady Marsh said.
“We’re a very seasonal store,” said Marsh, the grandson of company founder Dick Fleming. “Our store changes a lot as the seasons change.”
Carolina Pottery also sells decorations for the holidays, especially during the Christmas season, Marsh said.
Wreath-making and do-it-yourself workshops will likely start at the store in July.
About 30 full-time and part-time employees have been hired for the Martinez business, Marsh said.
The first Carolina Pottery store opened in 1983 in Smithfield, N.C. There are also stores in West Columbia, S.C., and Knoxville, Tenn. Marsh said many customers from the Augusta area were driving to the West Columbia store in recent years to shop.
“We started looking in Augusta a couple of years ago,” Marsh said. “Then this location became available.”
The company is always looking at growth options in other cities, Marsh said, but the short-term focus is on the North and South Carolina markets.
In October, Columbia County received designation as an “opportunity zone” for portions of Martinez surrounding Bobby Jones Expressway and Washington Road. The designation provides companies locating or reinvesting in the area a tax break of $3,500 for each full-time employee.
Carolina Pottery is one of the first companies to take advantage of the “opportunity zone” credits, which are available through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.