Construction is underway in Aiken to bring new retailers to the area. (WRDW-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's finally happening. A Sam's Club is being built in Aiken County.
"I am excited that it's coming. We can't wait for it to open. It will save us a trip to Augusta, Ga., to visit Sam's there and shop," said Sarah Medlock of Graniteville.
Medlock is a loyal Sam's shopper. Right now, she drives all the way to Augusta. Soon, she'll have a Sam's Club only a mile from her home.
Of course, the fight to bring one to Aiken County is nothing new. It started almost a decade ago.
"We'd get excited about it, and then it seemed like it was never going to get here," she said.
Around 2006, the City of Aiken turned Sam's away from building on Whiskey Road. Residents complained to the Planning and Development Department that it didn't fit the environment around the intersection of Whiskey Road and Powderhouse Road on the south side.
Now, seven years later, the permits are ready for construction outside city limits near the corner of University Parkway and Richland Avenue. Preliminary site work is already taking place. Aiken County Planning and Development Department Building Official Richard Hallman says the Sam's Club should be up and running by this time next year.
In south Aiken, new retailers are also popping up. Construction began this week on Academy Sports near the intersection of Pine Log and Silver Bluff roads.
"We have to be delighted to have large companies like Bridgestone coming into Aiken County, but it's the small business that generates the jobs," said City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dick Dewar.
Dewar says those jobs are coming there to Academy Sports and about a mile away at the South Park Shopping Center. Work on a Fresh Market is well underway. It should be done by April or May.
Dewar adds that there's plenty of room in the shopping center. He says there's room for almost 20 retailers.
"Fresh Market will not be occupying the largest space. There is one space larger than Fresh Market, so that's the mystery of who's going in that space," he said.
Some have speculated that a Starbucks or other businesses could be moving in there, but those are just rumors right now.
In the meantime, Fresh Market is already offering 13 jobs online. Click here to view those jobs.
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