Friday, June 6, 2014
Hundreds of shoppers had a first look at the new Lowes Foods in Pawleys Island on June 3 during the store’s VIP opening, one day before its grand opening for the general public.
Tim Lowe, CEO of Lowes Foods, was on hand to greet the first-time customers during the VIP opening.
“We are all about fun and passion for food,” Lowe said amid the cheering employees, chicken dance music and people discussing their favorite samples offered throughout the store.
“We want customers to have a unique experience that you don’t usually find in grocery stores.”
The unique aspects of the store include the Sausage Works area where a Sausage Professor interacts with customers; the Chicken Kitchen where customers and employees do the Chicken Dance; the Murrells Inlet Seafood area; the Pawleys Bakery; the Beer Den where customers can purchase a wide variety of adult beverages; the Pick-n-Prep area where customers’ fruits and vegetables are prepared for them; and the Community Table where daily demonstrations take place.
Lowe said the company has hired former Disney employees to train their staff to be upbeat and friendly to every customer. He added that Lowes Foods focusses on providing local goods and that all of the Lowe’s Foods stores are in the Carolinas.
“We are happy to be part of the Pawleys Island community,” Lowe said.
“We have built this store around the community and the community has been fantastic to work with.”
He said the Lowes Foods company held a series of listening sessions before and during construction to find out what the community wants in a grocery store.
The store has brought 240 new jobs to the area and most of those positions have been filled locally, Lowe said.
Customers said they are impressed with the new grocery store in Pawleys Island.
Jim Altman, who has lived in the Pawleys Island area all of his life, said he likes the new store.
“I think we needed it,” Altman said. “A little competition for Food Lion will make everything better.”
Jo and Sunny Tharp of Pawleys Island said the atmosphere in the store was overwhelming, but positive.
“My gosh,” Jo Tharp said. “It’s incredible. They have fresh and wonderful food and lots of things going on.”
Mitchell Saum, also a local resident, said he was impressed with the local feel of the store.
“They have done a good job integrating Pawleys Island into the store,” Saum said.
“Everything seems to be local.”
Bill Otis, mayor of Pawleys Island, and his wife, Alice, were at the VIP opening.
Otis said he was struck by the happy, pleasant employees in the store.
“Everyone has smiles on their faces,” Otis said.
“If that keeps up, this will be a great place to shop.”
He added that the Yellow Fin Tuna looked “awesome.”
“I think they got it right for the county,” Otis said.
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