RALEIGH — Independent grocer Carlie Cs IGA announced Friday that it will open a supermarket and pharmacy in a Southeast Raleigh store that Kroger recently closed on New Bern Avenue.
The Dunn company hopes to open the store as early as Feb. 6. It will be Carlie Cs first store in Raleigh.
Kroger announced in November that it would close its Raleigh grocery stores on New Bern and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard this month because they had been losing money. The announcement was a blow to Southeast Raleigh, where many residents rely on public transportation and there are few other shopping alternatives nearby.
Mack McLamb Jr., Carlie Cs president, said the grocer believes it can make the New Bern location profitable.
We have a model that works. We tend to be very cost-conscious in our operations, he said. We believe that were the most competitively priced supermarket in the area.
Leaders in Southeast Raleigh celebrated Carlie Cs move.
That is extra good news, Wake County Commissioner James West said. Just the symbolism of investing, thats what weve been trying to do for 10 years. Create an environment in Southeast Raleigh for people to invest in. That is definitely a good sign.
He also noted the still-empty Kroger on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard closer to downtown.
That store serves a low-income population that walks or takes taxi cabs to buy groceries and prescription drugs, he said, and many of them will not have transportation to the new Carlie Cs. Kroger officials said that store lost money for most of the time it was open, including $1.5 million last year alone.
Krogers lease at its store on New Bern was about to end, and Carlie Cs was able to work with the landlord and Kroger to sign a new lease. McLamb said Carlie Cs has also investigated taking over the empty Kroger store on MLK.
But he said reaching a deal to open a store on the site would be more difficult, in part because Kroger owns the building.
Its going to be a very challenging thing to make that site work as we see it currently, McLamb said. Things might change, but its hard for us to envision that happening anytime soon.
West said that he, City Councilman Eugene Weeks and developer Craig Ralph are negotiating with several different stores to potentially move into the MLK site.
History of Carlie Cs
Carlie Cs has been in operation since 1961, when Mack McLambs parents Carlie C. and Joyce McLamb opened their first shop in Johnston County. The grocer has continued to expand in the Triangle even as the region has become one of the most competitive grocery markets in the country.
Last year, the company opened its 15th store in Garners North South Station, off U.S. 401. The company now has IGA stores in Angier, Benson, Coats, Dunn, Erwin, Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Hope Mills and Lillington.
Carlie Cs plans to make minor improvements to the Kroger space before opening. The company will complete a more extensive remodeling in the coming months.
Carlie Cs is now taking applications online for all positions at the New Bern store. It will begin accepting applications at the store on Monday.