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