COLUMBIA, SC Lexington County might be one of the newest targets for a regional grocery store chain that wants to expand in South Carolina and plans on entering the Midlands’ booming food market.
Two property owners say they recently sold their land at the intersection of Augusta Highway and Charter Oak Road to a North Carolina broker who told them the property would be converted to a Lowes Foods store, possibly part of a larger shopping center at the location.
A third tract of property at the intersection was sold in March for $2 million to a partnership named Wildcat Commons LLC, the same entity the two other property owners said purchased their land.
Lowes Foods is a family-owned grocery store chain headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C. The company, which has no connection to the better-known national home improvement store chain, Lowe’s, does business in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
The company, founded in 1954, according to its website, has 100 stores — six of them in the Palmetto State, located mostly along the Grand Strand. However, a new store is reportedly in the works in Mt. Pleasant in the Lowcountry, and a new store will open in September in Greer in the Upstate, and one is being planned in Greenville, the company said.
Lowes Foods has S.C. stores in Little River, Murrell’s Inlet, Pawley’s Island, Greer and two stores in Myrtle Beach, the company said.
Kimberly George, a spokeswoman for Alex Lee, Inc., the parent company of Lowes Foods and Merchants Distributors, Inc., a privately owned wholesale grocery store distributor headquartered in Hickory, N.C., said the company did not have any detailed information on a possible store in Lexington at this time.
The Lexington County property is directly across U.S. 1 (Augusta Highway) from the Lexington Technical Center and Lexington High School next door.
The property has been the subject of grocery store speculation in the past. A Food Lion grocery was said be interested in the site, but nothing developed.
Copeland Exterminating company owner Robert Copeland said he sold his property to the brokers after 12 years near the Charter Oaks-Augusta Highway intersection because the price was right and activity in the area west of the Town of Lexington has grown exponentially since he first opened on Charter Road.
“There was nothing out here,” Copeland said.
He was told demolition of his property would begin at the end of May and he is already moving things to his new location on U.S. 378.
U.S. 378 is located a mile down Charter Oak Road from Copeland’s business, which includes Carts-N-Kits, an E-Z-Go golf cart repair shop. A Publix grocery is located at the U.S. 378 intersection with Charter Oak Road at one corner of the intersection, and a Bi-Lo shopping center is across the road from it.
“It’s growing,” Copeland said. “And there’s a lot of large tracts of land out here for sale.”
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398