Did you go by the new Harris Teeter since it opened on Wednesday? Odds are pretty good that you did.
In a small town like New Bern, folks here can be relied on to try something new. Remember when Cook Out opened?
On opening day, I saw city officials including Jeff Odham, in whose ward the new Harris Teeter is located, and City Manager Mark Stephens proudly roaming the vast floor space of the gleaming new store.
Coke Mann, a partner with Columbia Development Group, developer of the shopping center, was quoted in the Sun Journal crediting Odham and Mayor Dana Outlaw for their bringing the super-expanded HT to New Bern.
I saw lots of regular people combing through the almost 100,000-foot feet of shopping space, which is more than just a simple supermarket. (Some say the store actually has 105,000 square feet of floor space.)
We are not wedded to a particular grocery store. We shop at Publix most often, but not exclusively, and mainly due to its modern and wide selection coupled with its less crowded aisles.
With the opening of the new Harris Teeter, that may change.
The store replaces a 55,000-square-foot store on South Glenburnie Road, which closed the day before the new store opened.
It is claimed to be the largest Harris Teeter out of the chain’s 246 stores. Some media outlets have called it the largest in the world, but since its world is pretty much contained within Southern states, that’s a somewhat pretentious claim.
Still, it’s plenty big, and within it are sections that by themselves are impressively large.
There is a Starbucks inside the Harris Teeter, just as there was at the old location, but this one has a dining area that has to make this particular Starbucks one of the largest in the world, and that’s saying something.
Then there is the food court, contained within an area that could be a nice-size grocery store all by itself.
There is a bakery, fresh produce and meats, a deli, a sushi bar, a buffet, a burger bar, a specialty bar with changing themes, and a bar-bar. Yes, a bar … where you can get beer and wine by the glass.
As for the grocery aisles, they are so long they are subdivided, with a third row intersecting at the middle. Looking from one end toward the other, the aisles extend almost as far as the eye can see.
Filling all those aisles with merchandise must be a challenge by itself. I have not looked deeply into it, but the few places I did look showed a much-expanded variety of brands and varieties.
Staffing this store must be equally challenging. I counted six people working at the Starbucks counter, four at the burger bar, three at the beer and wine bar, and so on.
I am not sure if they staffed up for opening week or if they plan to maintain that staffing level.
Sarah, Mark and I went there on opening day and had dinner. We bought a couple of items from the grocery aisles before going home.
We returned on Saturday to find the same buzz one encounters when surrounded by hundreds of happy people. The store is large enough to accommodate a thousand customers without feeling overly crowded.
Sarah got several selections from the sushi train and described the quality as good as any restaurant in New Bern. I went for simple–a burger and fries. The way I figure it, if you can’t do a burger and fries right, then what can you do right?
And boy, did they do it right. It paired nicely with the glass of Mother Earth pale ale that I got at the bar.
While waiting for my order, I ran into four people I knew, and that’s the great thing about a venue like this. It’s a magnet that draws people together, and for more than one purpose.
Before, you would go to Harris Teeter for groceries. Maybe you might grab something from the salad bar or deli or the Starbucks counter, but there was really nothing that set it apart from any other modern grocery store.
This Harris Teeter is not just a retailer, it is a community amenity. You can literally spend the day there, enjoying a fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a couple of glasses of beer or wine later in the day before actually doing any grocery shopping.
Note: the beer and wine bar opens at 10 a.m. daily except Sundays, when it opens at 11 a.m. But who’s judging?
The parking lot is large and full but sufficient and well laid out. Other stores in the shopping center, which is called New Bern Marketplace, round out the remaining two-thirds of retail floor space at the 34-acre, 325,000-square-food retail venue.
One thing it has over Downtown New Bern: parking is not limited to two hours.
So what can you expect at the Teeter?
Greeting you as you arrive at one of the entrances is the floral counter managed by Mary Gierie-Merrell, who Mayor Outlaw has described as New Bern’s unofficial mayor.
At that same entrance, off to the right, is the Starbucks counter with its spacious and open dining area. It is equipped with tables and booths and two big-screen TVs. The window-wall is lined with a long counter with tall chairs for computer users and enough USB ports and electric sockets for every two chairs.
Beyond is the amazing food court, and to its left, the expansive grocery aisles.
One glitch was WiFi. Though it is provided, I was unable to connect to the internet using it. Another quibble is that if you want to sit at a table and plug in your device or computer to a power source, there are just two tables within range of just one wall socket, and they are right underneath a big-screen TV. That may be by design. It is understandable why a store would not want its tables taken up by people using computers all day.
The impacts of the new Harris Teeter on New Bern will be interesting to see.
It will undoubtedly cut into business of other existing grocery stores. But being so large, it will draw shoppers from outside New Bern and maybe from outside Craven County.
When the N.C. 43 connector is extended from U.S. 70 to U.S. 17 in the next few years, it will make access to New Bern Marketplace easier to reach from Pitt and Lenoir residents. It’s already the easiest retail center to reach in New Bern from Jones and Onslow counties.
As I said, this Harris Teeter is not just a store, it is a community amenity.
Harris Teeter’s previous largest stores, measuring at 80,000 square feet of store space, are located in Pinehurst and Charlotte.
The New Bern store is only the second location to have a juice bar.
It is the first to have a build-your-own burger bar.
Looking for a way to have a pancake breakfast before visiting Santa in Bear Plaza, taking in some shopping, and enjoying the many activities happening during the holiday season in downtown New Bern?
Join Pancakes for PIE at Morgan’s Tavern & Grill, 235 Craven St. Breakfast will be served Saturday, Dec. 15, from 7-10 a.m. to benefit Partners In Education, the local education foundation for Craven County Schools. Pancakes, bacon, sausage, fruit cup, orange juice, coffee, and water will be served in a festive setting. The price is $7 per adult, and $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations are not required as this is a pay-at-the-door event. Debit, credit cards, checks, and cash are accepted. In order to expedite seating, please have checks or cash ready.
Don Brinkley, PIE Board president, said, “This event is open to the public and is an excellent opportunity for our community to show their support for Craven County Schools. Morgan’s is generously donating all proceeds from the breakfast to PIE, who will use the funds to support our local schools through PIE grant programs. Serving our pancakes will be Morgan’s staff along with PIE volunteers consisting of teachers, school staff members, and community supporters.”
Brandy Popp, chairman of the PIE Fund Raising Committee, said, “It is so very giving of Adam and Candice Simmons and their employees to provide the staffing, food, and venue for this event. We all know Morgan’s dishes up excellent food and our volunteers are always up for serving some ‘PIE’! We are absolutely thrilled Morgan’s is hosting Pancakes for PIE and we encourage everyone to bring the whole family and spend the day in beautiful downtown New Bern! We have sent a special invitation to Santa and we are hoping he will be on hand to share holiday cheer.”
For more information about Pancakes for PIE, or other programs offered by PIE, contact Darlene Brown, Executive Director, Craven County Partners In Education, at 252-514-6321 or www.CravenPartners.com.
Partners In Education is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Local Education Foundation that provides grant funding and special programs to classrooms and schools within the Craven County Schools system.
Since 1989, PIE has been changing the lives of students and families in our community by providing our educators with financial resources that enhance and reward innovative approaches to educational excellence.
Preliminary plans have been released for the proposed 850-acre Martin Marietta Park that depict something the size and scope of which would make it one of the most significant municipal parks in the state.
Aldermen, the mayor, staff and advisers will meet upstairs at City Hall at 1 p.m. Monday to discuss the park and a proposed city redevelopment area and commission. (Link to agenda; note that the link has a limited shelf life.)
As depicted in maps, Martin Marietta Park would include a large amphitheater, swimming area, boating area, hiking trails and numerous other features. The plan does not indicate how the city would pay for developing the park.
The popular Harry Goodman Battlefield Adventure Day for children is Saturday, March 24 at New Bern Battlefield Park.
A day full of learning activities, period games and living history, it is held annually at the park, which has been recently upgraded by the New Bern Historical Society. The event is for boys and girls ages 6-12 years old and an adult. Check-in begins at 11:30 a.m. with activities from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Young recruits and their parents will be greeted by re-enactors from the 5th N.C. Regiment, the 7th N.C. Regiment and artillery from McCullough Living History. The newly “enlisted” recruits can choose to participate in practice drills or Civil War period activities and crafts. They will also take part in Civil War era games.
Historical Society battlefield guides will provide an informative and entertaining walking tour of the battlefield. A commissary lunch, provided by Moore’s Olde Tyme Barbeque will be served to each young recruit and adult. After lunch, the day’s activities will conclude with a battle re-enactment that includes the children.
Cost is $10 for one child with accompanying adult, plus $5 for each additional child or adult, with a $20 maximum for a family. Special price for active duty military and families qualifying for free/reduced school lunch program.
For more information or to register, call New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558 or go register online.
New Bern Battlefield Park is located off U.S. 70 at the entrance to the Taberna subdivision at 300 Battlefield Trail. This program is supported through the generosity of the family of Harry K. Goodman, who was key to the preservation and restoration of the Battlefield Park.
The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education. Offices are located in the historic Attmore Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern. For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Streets to be closed to vehicular traffic are the 500 block of Fort Totten Drive, 1300-1800 blocks of Trent Boulevard, 400 block of First Street, 700-1300 blocks of Broad Street and 400-800 blocks of George Street.
Saturday, March 3, Ghent Neighborhood Association Mardi Gras Parade
or the association’s annual Mardi Gras Parade and block party.
Saturday, March 10, Great Glow Run
From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the 200-700 blocks of East Front Street, 800 block of North Craven Street, 700-800 blocks of Howard Street, 100-600 blocks of Queen Street, and 600-800 blocks of George Street. This is a fundraiser for Easter Seals and also promotes awareness.
Friday, March 23, Super Kids Run
Saturday, March 24, Neuse River Bridge Run
The 200 block of East Front Street will be closed from 4 a.m. to 12 noon and the 200 block of South Front Street be closed from 5 a.m. until 12 noon.