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Swim school chain from Maryland dives into Charleston market

Swim lessons often are offered by local YMCAs, community centers and individual instructors. A Maryland-based chain that’s expanding to Mount Pleasant has made the process into a full-fledged business.

A swimming school hopes its retail venture floats in a Mount Pleasant shopping center.

Kids First Swim School, featuring an indoor swimming pool that will be kept at 90 degrees, is being constructed in the Publix-anchored Queensborough Shopping Center at 1000 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.

The center will offer six-week sessions for children as well as some adult classes. Its website also shows its pools are available for parties. Part of the space formerly was occupied by Pet Emporium.

The website has Kids First opening this fall. It will be the first venture for the swim school outside of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The chain was formed in Baltimore in 2001 by owner Gary Roth, who has been teaching swimming for more than 30 years and has started franchising his business concept.

Pet project

A new pet supply store is looking to open in North Charleston. PetSmart is going into the Best Buy-anchored Northwoods Marketplace at 7600 Rivers Ave. in the 17,445-square-foot space next to Michaels arts and crafts shop. No opening date has been announced. Northwoods Marketplace is part of Atlanta-based RCG Ventures LLC.

Striking gold

Charleston Gold & Diamond Exchange now has a second location in the Lowcountry.

The new store for the wholesaler and retailer of jewelry, diamonds, fine watches and precious bullion and rare coin products is at 1651 N. Main St. in Summerville.

The 5,125-square-foot shop is part of Dallas-based DGSE Companies Inc., which operates 35 stores under different names in seven states. The new shop has a full-service jeweler on site.

Food line

Newk’s Eatery, a new soup, salad and sandwich restaurant, will hold the ribbon-cutting for its shop near Azalea Square shopping center at 3 p.m. Wednesday at 210-D Azalea Square Blvd. in Summerville.

Red Lobster redux

Two Charleston-area Red Lobster restaurants now sport a remodeled look. Restaurants at 2080 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. in West Ashley and 2460 Mall Drive in North Charleston now boast styles inspired by the New England coast.

The makeovers include a new exterior featuring a stone tower, ship lanterns to welcome diners after dark, Adirondack-style chairs outside, window graphics, expanded seating for large parties, LED lighting and other energy-saving upgrades, wood-fired grills, expanded menu choices and nautical decor such as signal flags and seaside-inspired artwork.

Red Lobster donated its furnishings from remodeled restaurants to local Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets, which sell items to the general public to raise funds for constructing homes in their communities for families in need.

It’s part of a larger partnership between Red Lobster’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, and Habitat for Humanity International.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.

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