Harris Teeter’s newest and largest store in the region will open Wednesday in the Corners at Brier Creek shopping center, and customers can toast its arrival with a glass of wine or one of 16 beers on tap at the in-store bar.
The 67,000-square-foot, 24-hour store is capitalizing on the grocery-store-as-gathering-spot trend. Some other grocery stores in the region already have been offering beer and wine for customers to drink while they shop, but company spokeswoman Lea Ramsey said this is Harris Teeter’s entry into the bar concept here. Customers, however, will be encouraged to stay within the bar area and not shop with a glass in their hand.
The bar will offer local brews and North Carolina-made wines, in keeping with a storewide focus on local goods. The produce department, now labeled the “Farmers Market,” along with the seafood and meat departments, all feature local products where available, Ramsey said. The store has four grinders for making peanut and almond butter. The meat department will make fresh pork and chicken sausage daily.
The company expects customers to use the store as an alternative to a fast food or even a sit-down restaurant, with salad and hot bars, sushi, made-to-order subs, and fresh pizza, Ramsey said. An Asian hot bar will be set up for lunch and supper, and an American hot bar will have all three meals.
An “event station” will offer omelets on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and a rotating menu of dinners through the week. Wednesday’s opening night special is an $11.99 lobster dinner.
Tuesday, the parking, lot off Glenwood Avenue west of Brier Creek Parkway, was full as employees and contractors making sure shelves were stocked, sandwiches prepped and systems working. Before its public debut, the store’s wide aisles gleamed, its LED lights twinkled and all the wheels on its brand new grocery carts rolled in the same direction.
Harris Teeter, the Matthews-based chain bought by Kroger in 2014, is the third-largest grocery retailer in the Raleigh market, behind Walmart Supercenter and Food Lion. The Brier Creek location is one six new stores Harris Teeter plans to open in the Carolinas and Maryland this year. It recently announced it would close its location at High House Crossing in Cary on Sept. 16.
The competition among grocery chains in the Triangle become more heated the past few years as new supermarket brands such as Publix and Wegmans are attracted to area.
Ramsey could not say whether Harris Teeter would be making updates to its other area stores, such as the busy Cameron Village Harris Teeter.
“We try to respond to what customers tell us they want,” said Danna Robinson, Harris Teeter’s communications manager.
The Brier Creek store will open at 8 a.m. Wednesday, and customers will be treated to food samples throughout the week.