It's only a matter of months now before Earth Fare opens its Fort Mill-area location.
"Fort Mill is a very special, vibrant community, full of shoppers who are looking for a place where they can find healthier, tastier, more wholesome food," said Earth Fare president and CEO Frank Scorpiniti.
Earth Fare will open this fall at 2351 Len Patterson Road. It's the sixth South Carolina location, including one in Rock Hill. The 24,000-square-foot site is part of the Mills Crossing shopping center developed by Collett Realty. The shopping center is the first part of a much larger commercial destination off Dave Gibson Boulevard, across from Brayden.
"We are very proud to serve as a resource for healthier living to this community, and to make shopping for clean, healthy foods more convenient for our Fort Mill customers," Scorpiniti said.
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An Earth Fare coming to the area just between Fort Mill and Tega Cay is the latest sign of growth there. The five existing Earth Fare locations in South Carolina all are located in the seven largest cities, with sites in Charleston and Summerville serving the remaining two nearby communities (North Charleston and Mount Pleasant) in that group.
As of the most recent Municipal Association of South Carolina listing, Fort Mill is the 35th biggest municipality in the state and Tega Cay the 50th. Yet both are growing at levels seldom seen in the state, with recent U.S. Census estimates showing Fort Mill grew by more residents from 2016 to 2017 than any municipality of its size nationwide.
Through in nearby, unincorporated Lake Wylie and the entire area around the new Earth Fare has a population up more than 35 percent from 2010.
"Americans everywhere deserve a place where they can shop confidently, knowing that every product in their cart is free from harmful additives that we know are not conducive to a healthy lifestyle," Scorpiniti said. "We are very proud to bring our unparalleled commitment to helping our shoppers live longer, healthier, happier lives to the Fort Mill community."
The Collett website shows Earth Fare as part of a 48,000-square-foot development also to include Pet Supplies Plus, Bella Nail Salon, Porter Paints, Firenza, Heartland Dental, Club Pilates and First Watch. A site plan shows an acre outparcel space at Len Patterson and S.C. 160 West, smaller retail uses along S.C. 160 and three larger tenants to the back with Earth Fare.
In an agreement between York County and the developer earlier this year, the Earth Fare-anchored development makes up seven of what will grow into 37 acres of commercial space. The coming phase of development, once the Earth Fare site is done, stretches onto the opposite side of Earth Fare from Len Patterson, and away from the highway along Dave Gibson.
A traffic analysis submitted for the property assumes completion next year. It notes the project will include 200,000 square feet of office space, 14,000 square feet of retail, a 5,000-square-foot bank and 4,000-square-foot fast food restaurant along with the Earth Fare.
Earth Fare is a specialty organic and natural food grocer with more than 40 years in the industry. Products sold are free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial and trans fats, artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners, bleached of bromated flour, and meats haven't been given antibiotics or growth hormones.
Earth Fare has more than 750 private brands. The new Fort Mill-area store will have an Heirloom Juice Bar, a prepared foods department, salad bar, hot foods bar, pizza station, sandwich counter and package meals-on-the-go. An indoor and outdoor cafe are planned, too.
The Asheville, N.C.-based grocer has more than 40 locations in 10 states.