Publix to open first Wilmington store next month; competitors close behind

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Rapidly growing chain Publix will open its doors to Wilmington residents next month. Courtesy photos.
Rapidly growing chain Publix will open its doors to Wilmington residents next month. Courtesy photos.

The Port City will soon have its first Publix.

A grand opening for the new midtown grocery store, at 716 Bragg Drive in the Pine Valley area, has been set for 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10, according to Kimberly Reynolds, a company spokeswoman for the North and South Carolina region.

It’s a date that comes almost exactly a year after the Florida-based employee-owned supermarket chain announced its intentions to set up shop in Wilmington.

Reynolds said Publix, which in 2011 launched a rapid-fire expansion throughout the southeast, has been “aggressively” seeking out sites across the state. Among its more than 1,100 locations, the company now has stores in Charlotte, Cary and Asheville that all opened within the last two years.

The Publix at Pine Valley could soon be competing with Aldi, which plans to open a nearby store. Both companies are also eyeing sprawling Brunswick County for future sites.
The Publix at Pine Valley could soon be competing with Aldi, which plans to open a nearby store. Both companies are also eyeing sprawling Brunswick County for future sites.

And a second local Publix will soon anchor the under-construction Ogden Marketplace, a sprawling commercial center at Market Street and Middle Sound Loop that will include more than a dozen shops and restaurants.

“Wilmington is an area we’ve been wanting to serve, given its population, growth and location in coastal North Carolina,” Reynolds said in an earlier interview.

Touting quality products, including fresh baked goods and meats, at an affordable price, Publix is a favorite among coupon clippers for their weekly deals, including specially marked “penny items” available with the purchase of $10 in groceries.

While the new 45,000-square-foot grocery store may give nearby retailers Pine Valley Market, Food Lion and Harris Teeter a run for their money, Publix itself will soon have some competition with another bargain-driven chain.

In May, Wilmington City Council signed off on the rezoning of another Pine Valley property to allow for a 19,000-square-foot Aldi. Based in Germany, the company sells its own brand of low-priced goods and maintains a commitment to non-GMO foods. The Wilmington store will be put up at the intersection of College and Waltmoor roads, where Trinity Presbyterian Church is currently located.

Months before that rezoning ordinance came before council, Aldi was already working with Leland officials to place a store off Ploof Road in the burgeoning commercial district surrounding the Magnolia Greens development. Projected opening dates for that store, as well as the Pine Valley location, have yet to be announced.

Publix, too, is apparently eyeing Brunswick, the second fastest-growing county in the state and among the top 100 nationwide. Company representatives pitched the store to Oak Island council earlier this year, a presentation that prompted members to amend the allowed uses of the potential site – a former campground – so it would include grocery stores. Town clerk Lisa Stites said while no building permits have been filed, Publix officials told council members they planned to build three additional stores in the county.

And amid the buzz about Publix is the announcement late last year that another German-based discount food chain, Lidl, will build a new store off Eastwood Road near Mayfaire Town Center.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.