Reid’s Fine Foods, the specialty grocery store based in Charlotte, is opening its first Raleigh location on Tuesday in Cameron Village.
Reid’s is opening a holiday store in the space formerly occupied by Southern Season, the Triangle’s landmark specialty grocery store that filed for bankruptcy. If the holiday store is a success, the owners plan to renovate it after the holidays and reopen as a permanent Reid’s in the spring.
Reid’s creative director Terry Whitney said the holiday store offers Triangle customers “a small taste of what Reid’s is.”
The 4,700-square-foot Raleigh location will feature gift baskets, specialty foods and local products, as well as prepared meals and appetizers made in the company’s commissary kitchen in Charlotte. The company’s most popular prepared food items include frozen chicken pie, spinach and chicken lasagna, and chicken tetrazzini. Appetizers include pigs in a blanket called “darling dawgs,” mini quiches and “crabby patties.”
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Whitney said she believes the prepared foods will be a big hit with customers. “We’ve already heard from a lot of people that that’s a big deal,” she said.
It won’t have the wine and meat departments that the Charlotte stores have. However, it will offer many local and regional products that will be familiar to Southern Season shoppers, like Chapel Hill Toffee, Peggy Rose’s pepper jellies and ABC Pie Company. In fact, ABC Pie Company will have pies for sale every day in the store in its own case. Reid’s also has its own line of products; among the most popular are pasta sauces and a snack mix called Five O’Clock Crunch.
The store will host a grand opening on Nov. 5 and 6 with several local vendors, including Pam Runyans of ABC Pie Company, offering samples on that Saturday.
If Reid’s sees enough success with its holiday store, it will reopen in the spring offering a version more like its two Charlotte locations with a butcher, deli and wine bar, Whitney explained.
Southern Season’s financial troubles created an opportunity for Reid’s, which had been looking to expand but had been scouting locations in South Carolina. Southern Season executives filed for bankruptcy earlier this year with hopes that they could reorganize but its main creditor pushed for the company to be sold to Calvert Retail of Delaware, which owns the chain Kitchen & Company.
Southern Season had expanded to South Carolina and Virginia with large stores that included cooking schools and restaurants, similar to its flagship store in Chapel Hill. Those stores never did well enough and ended up leading the company to file for bankruptcy to break those leases, according to testimony and filings during court proceedings. Southern Season also had opened a series of smaller stores in Raleigh, Asheville and Charleston and had plans for others. Between the bankruptcy proceeding and the sale, those smaller stores were closed and plans for others were scrapped. Only the flagship store in Chapel Hill remains.
Reid’s has a long history in Charlotte, dating to the 1930s. For years, it was a small neighborhood grocery in Myers Park that was known for personal service and grocery delivery. It also was popular for its high-end meat department, including specialty cuts and personal service from butchers, and for its well-stocked wine department. Today there are locations in Charlotte’s Myers Park and SouthPark neighborhoods.
Reid’s co-owner Tom Coker said the company is considering adding four to five stores in other areas of the Carolinas in the next five years. Any new stores will stay small – in the 5,000-square-foot model, he said. However, he also said the stores will continue to focus on Carolinas-based food products.
The holiday shop in Raleigh will be at 443-B Daniels Street. Before Thanksgiving, the hours will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. Starting on “Black Friday,” the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, hours will expand to 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Info: reids.com
Kathleen Purvis contributed to this report.