New businesses set to open in city

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Jared Weathersbee, left, and Scott Levine from Signsmith put up the signs for Harbor Freight Tools on Monday at 538 Sutters Creek Blvd. Harbor Freight Tools plans to open Oct. 17.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

People in Rocky Mount probably have noticed some construction activity happening around the city.

Exterior and interior work is being done for the new Harbor Freight Tools coming at 538 Sutters Creek Blvd. in the former Rainbow store. Collin Ozar, marketing manager for the California-based company, said the discount tool and equipment retailer is tentatively slated to open Oct. 17.

Eric Smidt, president of Harbor Freight Tools, said the Rocky Mount store will mark the 26th store opening for the company in the state. Founded in 1977, Harbor Freight Tools has more than 780 stores nationwide and stocks more than 7,000 items in categories including automotive, air and power tools, shop equipment and hand tools.

According to a banner hanging outside the store, the company is now hiring and candidates can apply online at harborfreightjobs.com. Ozar said Harbor Freight Tools is expected to hire between 35 to 40 employees.

“At Harbor Freight, we’re about delivering high-quality tools at ridiculously low prices,” Smidt said. “We do it by manufacturing our tools at the same factories as the expensive brands, but we cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to our customers. We invite everyone in the Rocky Mount area to visit our upcoming new store.”

The Waffle House at 101 Rowe Drive off U.S. 301 is closed and being remodeled. Pat Warner, director of public relations and external affairs at Waffle House Inc., said the plans are to re-open the restaurant in mid-to-late November.

“The restaurant will have updated colors and some subtle cosmetic changes,” Warner said. “However, it will still look and feel like our normal Waffle House restaurants.”

Warner added the company offered employees or associates the opportunity to work at other locations while the construction is progressing. 

“Once the restaurant re-opens, the associates from that location will have the opportunity to work there,” Warner said. “Some decided to stay at the location they’re currently working. This restaurant will have 20 to 30 associates.”

A new franchise restaurant will be opening soon at the Cobb Corners shopping center. Joe Min, owner of the American Deli in Rocky Mount at 1529 Benvenue Road, said the new restaurant is expected to open in the next two weeks once all the inspections in the 2,000-square-foot space are completed.

The American Deli’s menu features chicken wings, Philly cheesesteaks, subs, gyros and other dishes. According to the restaurant’s website, American Deli has more than 140 franchises mostly in the Souheast. Min, who is from New Jersey, said Rocky Mount is centrally located in a good geographical area and the business climate in the area is improving.

“When people are traveling up and down (Interstate) 95, Rocky Mount is a place half-way that people will stop at,” Min said. “Also, there is a lot of investment taking place in Rocky Mount and some good momentum happening that is good for business.”

Rick Rountree, spokesperson for Boddie-Noell Enterprises, said construction is just getting started for a new Hardee’s at 4891 Sunset Ave., which will be across from Sheetz near Nash Community College. Rountree said no exact date has been confirmed but added the anticipated opening will take place the middle or late part of the first quarter of 2018.

Other construction happening in the area includes a 2,500-square-foot ABC store that is tentatively scheduled to open next month, according to Nash County ABC Board officials. Mike Murray, general manager of the Nash County ABC Board, said the new ABC store will replace the store on West Thomas Street, which will be closing this year

A new $12 million, 80,000-square-foot Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel is scheduled to open in November.  A new Sam’s Xpress Car Wash and Exxon Mobil gas station is planning to open up next to the Lidl grocery store in January on North Wesleyan Boulevard.

The remodeled Chick-Fil-A re-opened earlier this month at Cobb Corners, featuring an upgraded and expanded kitchen and double drive-thru lines to help accelerate service for customers. Franchise owner Bob Lehnes said the company invested about $1 million in the renovation of the restaurant.

“All the activity is a great example of the growth currently taking place in our city,” said Alan Matthews, director of economic development for Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce.