Publix looks to expand its Triangle grocery presence beyond Wake County

A Publix grocery store could be coming to the town of Clayton, a fast-growing suburb in Johnston County, according to paperwork filed with the state.

Plans for a “Publix @ Flowers Plantation,” which were submitted to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, reveal outlines for a 46,000-square-foot store on Publix Drive, a new road that would be near the intersection of South Flowers Parkway and N.C. 42.

Flowers Plantation is a massive, 3,000-acre subdivision just east of Clayton, which could one day boast nearly 8,000 homes when fully built out. The subdivision is one of many fueling growth on the periphery of Raleigh, with Johnston County now outpacing growth in Wake County last year, according to Census estimates. The trend that is partially fueled by rising prices for homes closer to Raleigh and Durham.

The application was first submitted to DEQ in February, and the plans were first reported by the Triangle Business Journal.

Kimberly Reynolds, a spokeswoman for Publix, said she could not confirm whether or not Publix planned to open a store in Clayton. Though, she did note that Publix continues “to seek out new store sites across the region.”

Publix is one of the most recent entrants into the Triangle’s grocery market wars. The supermarket currently has six locations in Wake County and also plans to open a store at the Peace development in downtown Raleigh.

Publix is also building a distribution center in Greensboro that will eventually employ 1,000 people, for which it will receive incentives from the state, The News & Observer previously reported.

Wegmans, a grocery chain from New York, is also on an expansion spree in the Triangle at the moment.

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Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.