by Matthew Christian
Construction is expected to pick back up soon on the Save-A-Lot grocery store in downtown Florence.
Tim Waters, the owner of the future store, said Tuesday evening that the community would see a lot of progress on it in the next 60 to 90 days. The store will on the northeast corner of the North Dargan and Darlington Street intersection directly across East Darlington Street from the Ideal Funeral Parlor.
Waters hinted of problems with the builders of the project, saying that there had been quite a few issues with the team and that after some reevaluating of the members of the team, construction would soon ramp up again.
When the project was announced, the store was expected to be completed and open by mid-2018. Site preparation was expected to start in early November 2017 with construction beginning in December 2017.
The store is expected to be roughly 15,530 square feet and create around 30 jobs and will result in an investment of $1.6 million in the city’s downtown.
Save A Lot Food Stores is a discount grocery store chain, headquartered in Saint Louis. The company is a subsidiary of Onex Corporation. There are about 1,300 stores across 36 states in the United States with a total of over $4 billion in annual sales.
The project was originally designated with the code name “Project Leopard Orchid” as it made its way through the approval process of the city of Florence in 2017.
The city provided an incentive package of $300,000 for the project.
Waters also received a $500,000 loan from the South Carolina Community Loan Fund as he is an entrepreneur seeking to bring healthy eating options to a food desert.
Food deserts are areas that have limited access to fresh, healthy food.
In 2017, Waters said he had been working since 1997 to bring a neighborhood market to the north Florence community. Waters added that he had been turned down by over 20 banks as he sought to build in the north Florence community. However, he eventually partnered with the city, the Housing Authority of Florence, and Save-A-Lot. The partnership arose out of Waters’ enrollment in the North Dargan Innovation Center program.
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