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Third vacant Columbia County 'big box' filled with new business

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:28 AM
Last updated 10:12 PM
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The empty Kmart store in Martinez won’t be vacant much longer.

The former Kmart in West Town Shopping Center in Martinez, which closed in September, will be the site of a Carolina Pottery home furnishings and decor store.  BARRY PASCHAL/STAFF
BARRY PASCHAL/STAFF
The former Kmart in West Town Shopping Center in Martinez, which closed in September, will be the site of a Carolina Pottery home furnishings and decor store.

The former anchor of the West Town Shopping Center, which closed in September, is expected to reopen this summer as the fifth store for Carolina Pottery, said Grady Marsh, the company’s chief operating officer and grandson of the company’s founder.

The announcement is the third in recent weeks involving the filling of a vacant big-box space in Columbia County. Two closed Food Lion grocery stores also will be renovated for new occupants.

Carolina Pottery, a family owned home furnishings and decor chain, started in 1983 in Smithfield, N.C., also has stores in West Columbia, S.C., Knoxville, Tenn., and Cary, N.C.

“We’re hoping to open about June 1,” Marsh said. “Hopefully we can move it that quickly. We don’t typically do a lot of renovations, more than our fixtures and our products.”

The store will employ 30 to 40 full- and part-time workers, Marsh said.

The company will be eligible for a tax credit of $3,500 for each full-time worker because the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in October designated the area around Bobby Jones Expressway and Washington Road as an “opportunity zone” to encourage economic activity, said Columbia County Development Services Director Richard Harmon.

“This would be the first one,” Harmon said. “You just talk about 30 to 40 employees, that’s what’s important to a lot of people.”

The company had been hoping for a site in Augusta, Marsh said.

“We’ve been looking at that area,” he said. “We feel Augusta is a good market, kind of a regional market. We’ve noticed in our Columbia store we get some decent traffic from Augusta, too, so there seems to be an interest in our type of products.”

The former Kmart site is one of four big-box retail sites that closed in Columbia County last year. The other three were Food Lion stores closed by the grocery chain, and new tenants recently were announced for two of them. A Walmart Neighborhood Market is expected to open this fall in the Village at Furys Ferry and renovations have begun for a Big Lots store in the Evans Exchange on North Belair Road. The third former Food Lion, on Old Petersburg Road, remains vacant and is partially in the path of the planned River Watch Parkway extension.

“These empty storefronts are being filled now,” Harmon said. “I’m glad we’re not having to create new asphalt and rooftops. We’re getting this in-fill stuff cleaned up, and that’s a good thing.”

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David Parker
7923
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David Parker 04/10/13 - 12:03 pm
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0
Which Food Lions? My bet is

Which Food Lions? My bet is Fury's Ferry and Belair/Washington road but would like to see something with food move into the one that closed on Old Petersburg.

triscuit
3266
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triscuit 04/10/13 - 01:21 pm
1
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I enjoyed shopping Carolina

I enjoyed shopping Carolina Pottery in Columbia. Glad to see one coming to add some life back to that shopping center!

Riverman1
93585
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Riverman1 04/10/13 - 01:46 pm
1
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Supposedly, the Food Lion on

Supposedly, the Food Lion on Evans to Lock and Fury's Ferry will get a Walmart Neighborhood store. I hope they hurry up with it.

745
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Barry Paschal 04/10/13 - 05:39 pm
1
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Correct

Correct, Riverman. All that is spelled out at the end of the story. In a previous story I quoted the agent as saying the Walmart Neighborhood Market opening won't likely be until around December.

Riverman1
93585
Points
Riverman1 04/10/13 - 06:21 pm
2
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Yep, Barry, thanks. I got

Yep, Barry, thanks. I got that from your previous story. Maybe they are waiting for the new neighborhoods out this way to be completed.

whyme
2109
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whyme 04/10/13 - 06:25 pm
1
0
thanks!

Yep, thought it was pretty clearly noted in the article as to what was happening...surprised that a Big Lots would be coming to Columbia County given the general affluence that it tries to impart...but I'm good with it!

745
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Barry Paschal 04/10/13 - 09:07 pm
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Walmart speed

No, they aren't waiting on anything, best I can tell. It's apparently going to take them that long to do the renovations they want. That surprised me with such a new building, but it seems they plan to jackhammer out a lot of the concrete floor.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 04/11/13 - 08:55 am
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Self imposed gag order

Self imposed gag order regarding more Walmarts in and around my neighborhood.

quote for the day "I told you so..."

Riverman1
93585
Points
Riverman1 04/11/13 - 11:43 am
1
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That Food Lion being

That Food Lion being converted to a Wamart was the store I grabbed a few items in often. I remembered when they opened and noticed the great concrete floor. Heh...shows what I know. I'm looking forward to the Walmart grocery store because I think it'll be a step up from the Food Lion. Walmart has a big selection.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 04/11/13 - 01:31 pm
2
0
ALthough I'm gagged, I don't

ALthough I'm gagged, I don't want anything to be ambiguous. It's not an issue with being geographically close to a Walmart or whether it's upscale or not so much so. It's the tendency for the Walmart to saturate a market so completely and with such finality, that it chokes out a huge part of small-businesses and niche operations. Yes it creates jobs. But at what cost? We trade working for ourselves as capitalist into working for Mr. Walmart family as a wage employee. And who profits from manufacturing? Not so much USA. I don't remember seeing a Made in the USA sticker on many Wal-products. IT's a success story alright, but not for America or the entrepeneur.

I know gag order. I'm done.

Riverman1
93585
Points
Riverman1 04/11/13 - 01:52 pm
2
0
David, I do get what you mean

David, I do get what you mean and I went through that about 10 years ago. Walmart does everything negative to the other business owners you say, but that's just the way it is...the new model. The small store owner would be advised to buy stock in Walmart. I did....once. QCOM now.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 04/11/13 - 02:18 pm
2
0
So either get busy livin or

So either get busy livin or get busy dyin right? I'm goin with livin. I don't go in there unless it's a last resort (all other options have been eliminated). I don't feel good about it and more often, I'll just go without. It's too convenient to fail in this disposable consumables market, I get it. But I won't play ball with it and ten years ago, if you knew then what you know now, would you have given up the cause as easily?

Riverman1
93585
Points
Riverman1 04/11/13 - 03:23 pm
1
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I believe that asks would I

I believe that asks would I have invested in Walmart ten years ago? Yep. It's the town market now with the best prices inside a weather controlled facility.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 04/12/13 - 07:11 am
1
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You and me both know that

You and me both know that isn't what i was asking you rascal

Darby
29228
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Darby 04/12/13 - 03:35 pm
1
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We've always enjoyed shopping the...

Carolina Pottery in Myrtle Beach. No mention of that store in the article. Did it close, or what??

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