Fresh Market 'opening soon'

A sign standing along Whiskey Road in front of the South Park Shopping Center proclaims The Fresh Market is "coming soon." Additional details are scarce, however. BRAVE Public Relations spokesperson Jordan Worrall said there is no word yet on when the specialty grocer will break ground, much less celebrate its grand opening. The specialty grocer is set to occupy more than 19,000 square feet in the center, according to leasing company Halvorsen Holdings, which holds a smattering of business space in the strip. A listing of retail opportunities in the shopping center on Halvorsen's website shows a graphic rendering of The Fresh Market storefront, and a PDF file concept plan of the shopping center details the grocer taking up 19,231 square feet, including an 800-square-foot vestibule. Only Fred's, Roma Pizza & Restaurant, and Acceptance Insurance remain in South Park Shopping Center. Aaron's and the Goodwill Emporium relocated last year to make way for The Fresh Market. Fred's has confirmed it will move, but the employee did not know when or to where. Fred's Inc. could not be reached for comment. Roma Pizza & Restaurant reported Tuesday it is staying in South Park Shopping Center. The One Stop Money Shop has moved from the center to 2543 Jefferson Davis Highway. There will be a public hearing April 10 before the Aiken City Planning Commission on both a planned commercial concept plan for the center and on a proposed rezoning from general business (GB) to planned commercial (PC). The Fresh Market's website still has no updates on when it will open in Aiken. A typical Fresh Market store is 21,000 square feet. The Fresh Market currently has 101 stores, totaling approximately 2.1 million square feet, and anticipates opening 12 to 14 new stores during fiscal year 2011. Haley Hughes has spent five years as the Aiken County government reporter with the Aiken Standard. Hughes, a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, hails from Knoxville, Tenn.