Smithfield’s getting a Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings in the next few months.
All three will open near Carolina Premium Outlets in a development called Smithfield Landing, at the corner of South Equity and Outlet Center drives. The project’s developer, Carolina Holdings Inc. of Greenville, S.C., has signed long-term leases with each of the tenants, vice president Bill Misiaveg said.
The Starbucks and Chipotle will share a single building, Misiaveg said, and they should open in late October and early November, respectively. Starbucks will create about 30 jobs, and Chipotle will employ 20 to 25, he said.
Buffalo Wild Wings will occupy its own building, and the sports bar will hire and train about 85 employees before opening in December, Misiaveg said.
Altogether, Smithfield Landing will encompass 9,000 square feet of restaurant space and 144 new parking spaces on 2.5 acres.
The lot once seemed destined for a Red Lobster and Olive Garden, but that deal fell through about two years ago, Smithfield Planning Director Paul Embler said. Carolina Holdings approached the town about a month later, Embler said, and they have been working since then to develop the land.
That’s longer than most projects take to come together, Misiaveg said, and the company is eager to see its completion.
Carolina Holdings likes the site, Misiaveg said, because it’s right off Exit 95 of Interstate 95, which is already popular thanks to its grouping of restaurants, hotels and Smithfield Cinemas. That stretch of I-95 sees up to 40,000 cars each day, he said, and the nearby Carolina Premium Outlets pull in 7 million shoppers each year.
The restaurants also expect to draw in hungry students from Johnston Community College, which serves more than 17,000 students each year, Misiaveg said.
“We’re excited about this project,” he said. “In addition to serving the people of Smithfield and Johnston County, they’ll be attracting a lot of business from travelers off the interstate.”
JRs to sell tobacco only
JR Cigar will end its outlet operations in Selma and become a tobacco-only store before year’s end.
In doing so, the company will layoff all of its non-tobacco staff by Dec. 1, which adds up to 81 employees, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN notice. The company also announced it will also let go 54 workers at its Burlington location along Interstate 40.
Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver made the announcement at the September Town Council meeting. JRs plans to continue leasing about 18,000 square feet, including its cigar room, she said. The building’s owner will look for another tenant to fill the remaining space.
“I understand there’s activity underway to try to get a really attractive company to come and take the extra space,” Oliver said.
Nov. 29 will be the last day JRs sells merchandise other than cigars, cigarettes and electronic-cigarette products, said an employee. Workers have known the layoffs were coming for six months, the employee said, but did not know the exact date until last week.
The move comes after a JRs was purchased by a United Kingdom-based company that deals only in tobacco, Oliver said.
JRs had a third North Carolina outlet, in Statesville, but shuttered that outlet at the end of last year. The company reopened a tobacco-only store 14 miles south in Mooresville, which is closer to Charlotte and also similarly located off Interstate 77. JRs liquidated its inventory through steep price cuts before closing in Statesville, even selling the shelves and racks that once held merchandise.
The new Mooresville location includes a craft beer bar.
Evans Jewelers moving
Evans Jewelers will hold a grand opening 5 p.m. Friday in its new home at 320 E. Market St. in downtown Smithfield.
The building is more than 100 years old and belongs to Daniel and Vickie Evans, who also own Evans Jewelers. They have spent the past two years remodeling the 3,200-square-foot space. The interior sports an “urban industrial feel,” with original wood and brick accented by a touch of modern architecture. The original ceiling trusses are made from discarded railroad wood.
Evans Jewelers has been in business for 40 years, the last 15 on South Third Street. With the new location, Evans Jewelers is becoming much more than a jewelry store, Daniel Evans said in a news release.
“It’s a destination with a whole lot more to come,” he said.
The new store will have a walk-in humidor stocked with Evans Jewelers’ own custom cigar blends, which they’ve dubbed EJ Cigars. During the grand opening, a cigar roller from the Dominican Republic will be on hand to craft stogies for visitors to sample.
Before long, the store plans to add a wine shop and begin hosting wine tastings.
The store will also begin offering an expanded selection of gifts, along with a bridal registry service. In a news release, Daniel Evans said he hoped the new inventory and services would fill a gap in the Smithfield market.
“There is a need in our community for a store that carries quality, high-end china and giftware,” he said.
Other business notes
Twisted Owl Sports Bar and Grill: Opened recently at 150 S. Equity Drive with pool tables, food, wine, beer and mixed drinks. The porch area is dog friendly, and there is regular karaoke and live music.
Tucker Furniture: Expanded its Smithfield location at 501 E. Market St. by adding showroom space.
Christopher & Banks: The women’s clothing store opened in July in Carolina Premium Outlets. It’s inventory includes updated classic attire in missy, petite and women’s sizes.
Safeway Reedy Creek Mini Storage: Recently added rental of U-Haul trucks, trailers and towing equipment to its location at 9891 N.C. 210, Four Oaks.