Gourmet Grocer Southern Season Coming to Mount Pleasant

North Carolina grocery store to locate in former Food Lion on Coleman Boulevard.

A gourmet grocery chain has inked a deal to open a store on Coleman Boulevard, according to a town news release.

Southern Season, a North Carolina speciality foods retailer, plans to open its second store by summer 2013 in the former location of Food Lion in the Brookgreen Town Center.

"This is a real coup for Mount Pleasant and for the ongoing revitalization of Coleman Boulevard," said Mayor Billy Swails. "Southern Season ... will bring a destination experience for local foodies and infuse Coleman with the sense of place and community that we are promoting."

The new grocer fills a key role in the town's Coleman Boulevard redevelopment plan, which is meant to create a downtown feel for a town that grew to nearly 70,000 residents without a central business district.

Swails traveled this week to Chapel Hill, N.C., to recruit the store, though no economic incentives were offered. Swails traveled with Charlie Way of The Beach Company, which owns the shopping center and is building the 325-unit The Boulevard apartment complex across the street from the planned store.

"We searched all over the mid-Atlantic and southern region and finally chose Mount Pleasant," said Clay Hamner, Chairman, Southern Season Inc. "The town’s desirability, along with the excitement of the Coleman Boulevard revitalization efforts and the opportunity to be part of a business-friendly community, set Mount Pleasant apart."

Mount Pleasant has three storefronts left vacant when Food Lion exited the Charleston market. The Coleman Boulevard location closed in 2010 and two other stores closed in 2012. With 17 full-service supermarkets, Mount Pleasant has nearly one store per 4,000 residents.

Southern Season, however, caters to an upscale market with high-end foods, wines, beers and cooking classes, among other offerings. Online reviews liken the grocer's one Chapel Hill location to a hybrid of Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma.

"Southern Season’s cooking school and full service restaurant will showcase the rich culinary heritage of the Lowcountry," said John Darby, CEO of The Beach Company.

The new grocery store is expected to bring 88 jobs and as many as 300 positions during seasonal peaks, according to the town news release.

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Patch.com December 14, 2012 at 05:21 PM
This store seems pretty upscale, but do you think Mount Pleasant can support another grocery store? (Check out its website www.southernseason.com.)
Millie McCarthy December 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
If Mount Pleasant can support Whole Paycheck, and this store is the tiniest bit cheaper, it will be supported. I will support it!
Lady Godiva December 15, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I don't think MTP needs another regular grocery store but it seems there's a market for a gourmet/specialty grocery store. Whole Foods and Kudzu Bakery have proven successful carrying specialty items. I think locals will welcome a store with specialty Southern foods. Cooking classes are a fun learning and social event. The only other cooking classes in MTP are at Coastal Cupboard on Long Point Rd. which is a little far for those east of 17 and other parts of town.
Es West December 31, 2012 at 03:21 PM
A Southern Season isn't a grocery store. It's hard to describe. It is a huge, fabulous, upscale retail gourmet cooking accessories and items resource, unlike any other kind of store. Yes, they sell international and speciality foods, but they don't have a produce, frozen food, milk, or meat departments typical of a grocery store. In Chapel Hill, the Whole Foods and a Southern Season are located within a block of each other, and they are not selling the same items at all. A Southern Season sells rare candies; dishware, glassware, tableware; wines; aisles and aisles of international condiments, spices, and sauces; upscale cookware, cutlery and accessories; teas and coffees; florals and candles. They do have a cheese section and a hot prepared food section. The huge scale and variety of wares are what distinguish it from a typical kitchen store. In Chapel Hill, A Southern Season occupies a former Belk store. They have a restaurant and cooking school, and national mail-order/catalogue service. The store was the go-to stop for visitors, great for browsing, and where you'd always bump into an acquaintance. The private store was recently sold, which hopefully won't alter the quality, service, and ambiance.


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