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Lexington starts petition to bring a second Trader Joe's to the Midlands

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Trader Joe's

A line of customers waits to get into Trader Joe's on Forest Drive. Lexington is hoping to lure its own location of the grocery chain. Mike Fitts/Staff.

Lexington is hoping that Trader Joe's, the quirky California-based grocer, has developed an appetite for a second location in the Midlands.

Town of Lexington economic developer Johnny Jeffcoat has had contact with the company about taking over the now-vacant Greenwise grocery space on Sunset Boulevard, according to Laurin Barnes, events and media coordinator for the town. 

"They have expressed interest in that location," Barnes said.

Publix closed the organic-focused Greenwise store location in August, just eight months after it opened. Now the town has launched a petition drive to encourage the company to look afresh at the location.

The petition will be online, with a link from the town's Facebook page, for about a week, then will be forwarded to the company to show the community's support for adding a store on the other side of the Midlands, Barnes said.

The town's Facebook post on the petition attracted more than 300 comments, including many variations of "Yes, please!"

Trader Joe's did not reply to a request for comment.

In seeking a store location, Lexington is battling the odds. Trader Joe's is careful not to oversaturate its markets. It has just three stores in South Carolina, in Greenville, Charleston and in Forest Acres near Columbia.

Trader Joe's is famous for its own lines of private label frozen foods and snacks, and for its inexpensive wine. It has more than 500 locations nationwide.

Biscuits on North Main

Columbia’s Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuits, the popular breakfast-biscuit-slinging mobile operation, is opening a brick-and-mortar shop on North Main Street early next month.

Owners and husband and wife Todd and Renee Adams started the business about two years ago, where it became a staple at Soda City Market and a hit when it popped up at businesses around town. Opening a full-fledged restaurant after such a short time is a surprise to both, and comes after a delayed construction and opening plan that began in March, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’re targeting the first weekend of October to open, with the initial week being for friends and family.

Both cite the neighborhood’s emerging popularity as motivating them to locate there, along with the building being new and ready for them to reshape the space as needed.

“We couldn’t really have asked to be part of a better community,” Renee said. “The community itself is up in both the Bellevue and Earlewood neighborhoods, they’ve always been so supportive of us when we’ve popped up.”

Former college building sold

The former Centura College building at 131 Berkshire Drive, just off I-20 and Two Notch Road in Columbia, has been sold for $1.6 million.

The 63,200-square-foot building was purchased by USP Holdings, which was represented by Mike Edwards of Wilson Kibler. The seller, BTL Columbia School Building, was represented by John Gregory of NAI Columbia.

Centura College no longer has campuses outside Virginia.

Openings and closings

Badd Boys Cafe, operated by former city council member and owner of Moe's Grapevine restaurant Moe Baddourah and his sons, is opening in the Middleburg Plaza location that formerly was home to The Mousetrap. The cafe will start by offering lunch service only. ... Biblestore Outlet has opened in Palmetto Plaza at 5140 Sunset Blvd. in Lexington. ... Adrenaline Entertainment Center, a trampoline and recreation center, has closed on Garners Ferry Road, as the company closed its four U.S. locations, citing the economic effects of the coronavirus.

David Clarey contributed to this report.

Have any Midlands business news to share? Reach Mike Fitts at mfitts@postandcourier.com.

Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikefittsat140

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