Mega-distribution center may be coming to Rock Hill

A one million-square-foot distribution center has set its sights on Rock Hill.

Officials with both the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. and the York County Economic Development Board have mentioned the ongoing project. Of course, details are very limited and nobody's ready to comment on specifics, but a RHEDC list of prospects lists the mega center as a prospect for Antrim Business Park. It could create up to 700 new jobs.

I heard that officials from the mystery company will meet with local leaders this week, but I don't expect an announcement anytime soon. However, you can bet I'll be keeping tabs on this one as it develops.

Original Si's Pizzeria staying

Champion pizza dough-tosser Siler Chapman will keep his original Si's Pizzeria at 9931 Charlotte Highway in Indian Land. Chapman, 24, plans to franchise his other locations in Rock Hill and Indian Trail, N.C., under the Donatos name, but he won't be changing the original restaurant, founded eight years ago.

"This is our baby," said Lee Chapman, Siler's mother and the restaurant's general manager. "We have a loyal customer base, and there's no need to change anything."

Lee Chapman said there was a misunderstanding last week among customers that the popular pizza parlor was closing, but that rumor isn't true. She said business is good, and one of the restaurant's cooks, Joey Post, will be competing in the pizza olympics next month.

"He's here every Friday night tossing dough," she said. "The kids love it."

Joe for G.I.'s

A Rock Hill coffee shop has launched a new promotion to deliver its morning brew to local soldiers overseas.

Caffino drive-through coffee shop is selling fresh-roasted coffee by the pound that will be packed and shipped to troops serving in the National Guard.

"The main thing is to let them know they're appreciated," said Patti Petersen, operations manager of Caffino on the corner of Ebenezer Road and Herlong Avenue in Rock Hill. "I'm hoping to send a huge box."

Petersen said customers can purchase the coffee for $12.99 and fill out a personalized label to thank the soldiers. She said Caffino is teaming with the 178th Combat Engineer Battalion based in Rock Hill to make sure local troops get the coffee.

"It's a really neat program because it will actually go to our local guardsmen," she said.

Red Coach building to begin

Construction on 14 townhomes at the site of the old Red Coach Inn will begin in May. The RHEDC released sketches of the proposed homes last week, following City Council's initial approval of the plans at the end of February.

The 1,800-square-foot homes, to be at the intersection of East Main and Spruce streets, will have rear-loading garages and will be built around a courtyard. Pre-sale of the homes has not begun.

The homes surely will be a welcome addition to the east-of-downtown neighborhood. Once a haven for drugs and prostitution, planners are hoping the corner will attract affluent residents to the area.

Booze decision coming soon

Citizens Corner, a proposed upscale downtown restaurant, offered its petition for a liquor license during a state hearing last week. Downtown development officials say a decision could come any day now.

You may remember city officials passed a downtown jaywalking law in what some said was a move designed to help the restaurant meet state laws about distancing itself from a nearby church. Which raises the question: If the liquor license is denied, how will people react to the jaywalking law now on the books?

Coming and going

• Northwestern Rock Hill soon will be home to the Red Bowl Asian Bistro. The Tega Cay restaurant recently announced plans to open a location next to the Harris Teeter on Celanese Boulevard.

• Adios, Taco Bueno. The fast-food Mexican restaurant closed its remaining Rock Hill store about a week ago. The local franchisee closed the Cherry Road store only a few months after opening, citing poor sales. Now, the second store, at the corner of Heckle Boulevard and Herlong Avenue, has shut down, too.

Taco Bueno is successful in its birthplace out west. But its experiment in Rock Hill has been a major bust. Many factors could be blamed, but you have to think competitor Taco Bell's grip on the Americanized Mexican food market around here was a big obstacle to overcome.

Tip of the cap

• Jim Wolfe of Keller Williams Realty at Baxter has successfully completed the Realtor e-Pro course offered through the National Association of Realtors.

• Linda Gilmore, a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty, received the silver medallion award for closing almost $5 million in 2007.

• R.J. Provost, owner of Fort Mill security firm PRO Detective & Security, recently completed requirements at York Technical College for the professional designation of Certified Officer. This is a 24-hour course recognized by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.