CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Katherine Peralta | The Charlotte Observer) - The new Publix opening in Cotswold is the latest reminder of how competitive Charlotte's grocery scene is.
The 46,000-square-foot store is so close to the Harris Teeter across Randolph Road that you could park and do half your shopping at one store, walk a few hundred feet across the street and finish your trip at the other.
The new Publix, which opens Wednesday at 7 a.m., has a layout that looks a lot like the Publix in South End, which opened in April 2015. The produce section on the right-hand side of the store sits adjacent to a deli, where customers can order Publix's popular customizable sandwiches. The wine and cheese sections sit next to each other in the back corner nearby.
One big difference customers will notice about the new Publix compared with some of the chain's other stores is the amount of seating Cotswold has. At the front of the store near the checkout lines is an area with clusters of tables and chairs, which leads out to an outdoor patio with additional seating.
The outdoor seating area at the new Publix store in Cotswold. (Credit: Katherine Peralta | The Charlotte Observer)
The new Cotswold store otherwise has most of the other features you'd expect at a Publix, including full-service meat and seafood departments, a floral shop and bakery, an Aprons Simple Meals case that offers cooking demonstrations, a pharmacy and catering. The store has free Wi-Fi as well.
It will be open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Since the store was in its initial planning phase in early 2015, neighbors have had concerns over the traffic that it could cause on Randolph Road — especially given its proximity to Cotswold Elementary School, Harris Teeter and the popular Chick-fil-A next door. Publix spokeswoman Kim Reynolds said the grocer has worked closely with city transit officials over the last three years to ensure the community's traffic worries were addressed.
The deli at the new Publix store in Cotswold. (Credit: Katherine Peralta | The Charlotte Observer)
Given the median on Randolph Road in front of the store, accessing its two-story parking garage can seem a little tricky if you're coming from the direction of uptown.
Southbound drivers can access the deck from the back by taking a left at the light on Greenwich Road, followed by a right on Colwick Road. If you're coming from the south toward uptown, the right-hand turn into the garage off Randolph is much simpler.
The produce section at the new Publix store in Cotswold. (Credit: Katherine Peralta | The Charlotte Observer)
Publix is Charlotte’s No. 4 grocer, with 7.1 percent of the area’s market share, according to an annual report from sales-tracking firm Chain Store Guide.
The Lakeland, Fla.-based grocery chain has been quickly growing its market share in Charlotte since opening its first North Carolina store in Ballantyne in 2014. Charlotte's top grocer is Matthews-based Harris Teeter, which was acquired by Kroger in 2014.
Publix competes most closely with Harris Teeter, which is why you'll notice that the two grocers have stores close to one another like they do in Cotswold. The grocers also have stores within a mile of each other in South End, Highland Creek, Steele Creek, Cornelius, Huntersville and Mint Hill, among other locations in the region.
A display of hummus and other assorted spreads at the new Publix store in Cotswold. (Credit: Katherine Peralta | The Charlotte Observer)