Six months after buying a rural Berkeley County parcel for a future grocery store, a Pee Dee-based food distributor and supermarket owner has planted a stake on the outskirts of Moncks Corner for a second outpost.
IGA affiliate W. Lee Flowers and Co. of Scranton paid $2.46 million this month for a 22-acre parcel at U.S. Highway 52 and Gaillard Road, part of the former sprawling Carolina Nurseries site.
ZZ Real Estate LLC, an affiliate of North Charleston-based industrial conglomerate The InterTech Group Inc., sold the site to the food firm.
A grocery store is planned for the site, near new subdivisions in the Charleston suburbs, but its development is a couple of years off because of required intersection improvements to handle projected increases in traffic, according to Will King, vice president of real estate for W. Lee Flowers..
It could be a year before road widening with turning lanes on Gaillard Road and U.S. 52 is completed and another year to build a supermarket, he said.
That puts an opening at the earliest in late 2021 or sometime in 2022.
"We are still evaluating the size, but it will not be much larger than 35,000 square feet," King said.
The site already has water and sewer nearby, and its land use has been rezoned from agriculture to allow commercial development.
"The infrastructure is about as good as any place we have seen," King said.
That can't be said for an 11-acre, undeveloped parcel the firm bought earlier this year for $1.1 million just a few miles away on U.S. Highway 17A at Cypress Gardens Road.
The site is served by public water, but it does not have sewer service to support a future supermarket that W. Lee Flowers wants to put there.
"Developers are trying to do groundwork to provide sewer service to some future neighborhoods, but we don't have anything concrete at this point," King said of the Cypress Gardens Road site. "We are still a good ways off."
The firm has put septic systems on some project sites when it couldn't get public sewer service, but King said the company prefers not to do that because "they bring inevitable problems."
The Florence County firm distributes products to 69 IGA stores and affiliates in the Carolinas and Georgia, according to its website. Fifty-one of the stores are in the Palmetto State, mostly in small towns in the eastern half of South Carolina. Many of the stores are owned by IGA while others belong to independent operators.
IGA has two independently owned stores in the immediate Charleston market, operating as Doscher’s in West Ashley and Hanahan. The grocer has another corporate-owned supermarket in St. Stephen in Berkeley County.
Based in Chicago, IGA relies on distributors, such as W. Lee Flowers, to transport its products to retailers.
IGA operates in 46 states and and more than 30 countries. IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance and was founded in 1926 for family-owned stores to remain strong in the face of growing chain competition.