Monday, February 01, 2010

Harris Teeter turns 50

Harris Teeter turns 50 years old today. The Matthews-based chain is owned by Ruddick Corporation, and has grown to become the market leader in many parts of North Carolina including the Piedmont-Triad, the Triangle area and its home market of Charlotte.

Harris Teeter's began as two separate stores, eventually combining to create the first store on Central Avenue in Charlotte. This store is still in operation, but has since relocated and expanded and now is located at the corner of Central Avenue and The Plaza.

In the Carolinas, Harris Teeter's growth has been more pronounced in recent decades. In the 1980s their takeover of Food World, Colonial and Big Star markets enabled a fast expansion across the two state area. The 1990s brought an expansion to the chain, bringing Harris Teeter to markets such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Northern Virginia. The Washington, D.C. area on the other hand is experiencing the greatest growth of Harris Teeter stores with a long-awaited store that opened in 2008 in the district.

Today, there are no longer stores in Atlanta, in fact only one store is maintained in Georgia at St. Simon's Island. Other notable markets that once had Harris Teeter stores and now no longer do include Greenville-Spartanburg, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Roanoke. Moreover, they only have one store in Florida outside Jacksonville, and their presence in western North Carolina is limited to one store in Hendersonville and one in Asheville.

In addition, Harris Teeter has closed many of its stores in smaller cities and towns in the Carolinas, and in areas that have shifted demographically to become lower income neighborhoods. These stores have relocated by moving to the suburbs or revitalized downtown districts, targeting a more upscale clientele. Ultimately the chain has remained successful, proved by the last 50 years, and continues to constantly earn top marks for its cleanliness, customer service and selection by magazines such as Consumer Reports. These days the grocer has made a name for itself by promoting "unreal deals," doubling and tripling coupons up to 99 cents, and then sometimes "super doubling" coupons up to $1.98.

Harris Teeter's newest store will open next week in Raleigh's North Hills, a relocation of the current store at Lassiter Mill as we've previously mentioned. It will be the first two-level store in the region.

The store photographed above is the Harris Teeter store on West W.T. Harris Boulevard - as mentioned in the Charlotte Observer article. This store is located where Harris Boulevard intersects with Mallard Creek Church Road , and features a strikingly unique exterior. The store was built in 1994 and encompasses approximately 45,000 square feet. The photo was taken in 2004.


Steven Swain said...

Happy Birthday HT!

kmart said...

Happy birthday! I love Harris Teeter! I think I'll do a Food Lion / Harris Teeter special diversion from Kmart on my blog sometime next month.