Eric Holzer, CEO of Palmetto Moon

Eric Holzer became CEO of Palmetto Moon in 2016 before departing in early 2018. He is now leading the novelty-and-gift-shop chain based in North Charleston again. File/Provided

The former CEO of a growing North Charleston-based retail chain is back in the driver's seat.

Longtime Palmetto Moon employee Eric Holzer replaces Adam Stone after Stone's nearly 18-month run as CEO of the 25-store chain across the Southeast, the company announced Wednesday.

Stone, who came to the Southern-lifestyle brand merchant from children's apparel retailer Hanna Andersson of Portland, Ore., stepped down to take some time off, according to Palmetto Moon spokeswoman Amber Dube. cqHe was named CEO of the specialty retailer in January 2018.

Holzer is no stranger to Palmetto Moon. During his 15-year tenure before stepping aside when Stone took over, Holzer served as an analyst, buyer, store manager, chief merchandising officer and CEO.

"He has a distinct understanding of the core principles that founded the company," Palmetto Moon said in a statement.

“I have always been humbled by the extraordinary business that our Palmetto Moon crew has built," Holzer said. "Our future is bright. We have an incredibly unique retail company that was founded on very critical core principles. These values still exist today and are the backbone for our success. I am so excited to reengage in a more meaningful way.”

Palmetto Moon at Tanger Outlets (copy)

North Charleston-based Palmetto Moon operates 25 stores across the Southeast, including this one that opened in 2018 at Tanger Outlets in North Charleston. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

As the company continues to expand its brick-and-mortar locations and grow its online business, Holzer plans to focus on the retailer's central values "of creating a powerful, emotionally connected brand" and "leveraging the pride of being uniquely Southern."

Palmettto Moon has added three new stores so far this year with another set to open in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in late June.

The company offers apparel, accessories, gifts and collegiate gear tailored to each market. Among featured brands are Vineyard Vines, Southern Marsh, Simply Southern, Yeti and Southern Tide.

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Palmetto Moon operates four locations in Greater Charleston: with two in North Charleston and one each in Mount Pleasant and Summerville.

The company started as a kiosk in Citadel Mall in 2002 as the brainchild of retired Belk executive Bob Webster before launching storefronts across the Charleston region and setting up its headquarters in the West Ashley shopping center. 

The merchandiser left Citadel Mall last year for a new retail location in Tanger Outlets in North Charleston. Its new headquarters is in a separate North Charleston location on Hanahan Road off Rivers Avenue. 

Webster and his wife, Karen, sold a majority interest in the company to New York-based private equity firm Topspin Partners in 2016.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.