Sprint Food Stores Inc. will unveil its first local “Metro Market” concept downstairs in the 851 Broad St. building by late spring or early summer, President and CEO Andy Jones said.
Inside the business will be touch-screen kiosks for shoppers to place orders for quick meals, such as sandwiches and gourmet hot dogs. Toward the back, a selection of wines and craft beer, gourmet cheeses and other high-end grocery items can be purchased to carry out or consume on the premises. Customers will be able to choose from indoor seating or a covered patio that will open to the Common.
“It’s essentially a high-end convenience store,” Jones said. “It’s going to really be something different that Augusta doesn’t have, especially downtown Augusta doesn’t have.”
Jones said he plans to collaborate with some event organizers at the Common. The store, he added, is equipped with larger bathrooms to accommodate high traffic.
“It’s something that is needed on Broad Street,” said Margaret Woodard, the executive director of Augusta’s Downtown Development Authority. “I think it will be a very successful venture downtown.”
Woodard said she believes the business will help make downtown more walkable for residents living and working there.
“He’s going to meet that niche where you can just run and pick up what you need,” she said. “He’s got a lot of residences in the vicinity where he is, and I think people will be thrilled with that concept.”
A total overhaul of the 11,000-square-foot, two-story building started in November.
The company’s support center will be housed upstairs. The staff is currently based in Enterprise Mill on Greene Street, but that office will close once the renovation is complete, Jones said.
Sprint Food’s main office in Wrens will remain open.
In 2011, Sprint Food purchased the building for $235,000 from Osbon Julian W Family Partnership LLC, according to Augusta property records.
“This is what we had in mind when we bought the building but were kind of limited on the space width-wise, so we really had to get creative,” Jones said.
The downtown additions of the Augusta Convention Center and Holiday Inn Express and pending restoration of the Miller Theater have made Jones even more excited about the new store, he said.
Sprint Food Stores operates 15 gas station and convenience stores across the area. The Broad Street location will not include a gas station.