NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -
It's the day a ton of shoppers here in the Grand Strand have been waiting for, Publix officially opens its doors.
This is the first Publix to hit our area and it has set shop right in North Myrtle Beach.
The store joins the nearly two dozen shops and restaurants at Coastal North Town Center. It is one of the 10 largest-volume supermarket chains in the country.
Some features of the store are a deli, bakery, wine area and prep section with free recipes and samples.
Part of Publix setting up shop here, is embedding itself in the community. Of the 150 employees it hired,100 are locals. Tuesday, it even donated money to local schools.
Overall, there are about 50 Publix stores in in South Carolina, and one is even going in at Pawley's Island; however, it's a waiting game to see if Publix will fill the hole at Grande Dunes at 82nd Parkway, Farrow Parkway or Carolina Forest.
"We love that excitement that the community wants to see more and more Publix, we want to see the same thing. While we can't confirm anything at this time, other than this location, we are always looking for great communities and great areas to come in and make an investment," said Dwaine Stevens with Publix Media Relations.
This grocery chain is adding to the on-going growth of the new town center.
"Look around you, the growth is here, its a beautiful shopping center, it continues to grow here and its very sprawly. Its a great time to come to North Myrtle Beach because of all the growth and we want to be a part of that," said Stevens.
Many are calling Publix an anchor store for the Coastal North Town Center, believing it will pull in more business to this end of the beach.
WMBF News stopped into Dick's Sporting Goods to see how they're doing since opening in September. A store manager said it has been slower than anticipated and they're ready for Publix to bring in more traffic.
Versona, on the other hand, is seeing the opposite effect. Employees say business has been better than expected.
Either way, city leaders are expecting growth in this area.
Of the nearly two dozen shops and restaurants, some are still preparing to open including a nail place, yogurt shop, and Which Wich;
ach store benefiting many people, in many ways.
Shoppers say this center offers variety, new stores to the area, and jobs. City Spokesperson Pat Dowling, says right now the whole city is seeing this strong growth.
Eventually there will be more stores in this area, experiencing a day like Publix.
From the new sports complex to Coastal North Town Center, North Myrtle Beach is quickly picking up traffic.
Plans have been in order for a new shopping center - Champions Crossing - at Robert Edge Parkway and Carolina Bays.
The plan is to open 15 stores, seven restaurants and several outparcels on the 70 acres of land.
As far as what stores we will see, that remains under wraps. The city has not seen a site plan but expects it in the "near future."
City spokesperson Pat Dowling thinks the developer wants to have tenants signed before making an announcement. As of now, a date has not been set for building or opening.
WMBF News reached out to the developer, but we have not heard back.