Got a favorite grocery store? Kroger? Fresh Market? Lowes Foods? Publix? They’re all here.
If it isn’t already in Myrtle Beach chances are your favorite food store will be coming soon, that is if it’s a company that is currently expanding in the southeast. I haven’t heard any rumors about Wegmans, but they’d be smart to check out the area. It seems everybody else is.
There are seven companies that currently serve up fresh produce, meats and dry goods on the Grand Strand. All of them offer basic staples as well as some “natural” (be careful of that term) and organic food. Most of them have a deli, meat market, and bakery and some offer freshly made sandwiches and even whole meals to take home and toss in the oven.
Thanks to the gradual elimination of South Carolina Blue Laws over the years (believe it or not, there are still some counties in which you cannot buy alcohol on Sunday), every grocery store in the Myrtle Beach area sells wine and beer seven days a week, and you can often pick up beach gear, patio furniture, flowers, books and magazines, and home goods as well.
As I say, everyone has a favorite store, so I’ll start with mine.
Being a transplanted Florida girl, I missed my Publix, but not for long. As of this writing there are two new Publix grocery stores on either end of the Grand Strand, and a third store under construction and scheduled to open soon in Carolina Forest. There's one on Highway 17 in Pawleys Island at the Pawleys light (you can’t miss it) and another is located in the new Town Center on Highway 17 in North Myrtle Beach. Both stores have seen steady traffic since the day they opened.
Founded in 1930, Publix is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. This Florida company has been making its way north for the last few years and prides itself on its customer service. The Charleston area has 12 Publix stores and there are a dozen or so in the upcountry around Greenville, but we’re the farthest north along the coast to have one. I like their produce, their Greenwise brand of organics and eco-friendly products, and their own brand of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts. Yum!
Founded in North Carolina in 1982, The Fresh Market is the youngest grocery store chain in the area, but the concept is “old world” charm and fresh, organic food and bulk products. You can order online and pick up or they will deliver.
There are only seven stores in South Carolina and we have two of them. One is located in Pawleys Island at 11421-A Ocean Highway (Highway 17) and the other is at 7747 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. Coffee lovers will love their variety of coffees. I like their cheese selection.
Kroger bought up Harris Teeter a few years back and there used to be several Harris Teeter stores in the area, one in Litchfield that I used to shop at, but they are all gone now. You have to go to Charleston or Wilmington for Harris Teeter. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1883, Kroger is the oldest of the grocery store chains and the only one not based in the South.
There are four Kroger store locations on the Grand Strand; 2939 S. Highway 17 in Murrells Inlet, 3735 Renee Drive in Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach, 9610 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, and 781 Main Street in North Myrtle Beach.
Not to be confused with Lowes the DIY store, which is also a North Carolina based company, Lowes Foods was founded in 1954 and in 2014 launched a rather strange billboard marketing campaign to rebrand themselves as young, hip, and “true South.” They periodically have a really good 25% off meat sale, so be sure and watch for it. You can also shop online and pick up your groceries to save time.
They offer a gasoline premium when you shop there that you can use at their filling stations or at selected stations in the area. Take note, however, that your points expire, so don’t do what I sometimes do and forget about them because you can save as much as 20 cents a gallon on gas if you buy a lot of groceries. The Lowes filling station and the Murphy Oil at International Drive in Carolina Forest have an ongoing gas war, so it’s the cheapest place in town to buy gas.
There are seven Lowes Foods locations in the area; 9160 Ocean Highway (Highway 17) in Pawleys Island, 11903 Highway 707 in Murrells Inlet, 1399 S. Commons Drive (off Highway 544 at Highway 17) in Myrtle Beach, the aforementioned Carolina Forest location at 215 International Drive, 970 Cipriana Drive in Myrtle Beach, and 111 Pavillion Drive in Little River. There’s also a fairly new store in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.
The “Pig” has been around since 1916 and is based in Memphis, Tennessee. Synonymous with value and food basics, they tried a “gourmet pig” in Ocean Isle Beach a few years back that I wrote about for Greater Wilmington Business, but apparently the concept didn’t work. That store is now closed, but there is a really good bagel bakery still there in the strip mall.
There are three Piggly Wiggly stores in the area; one at 122 Highway 17 North in Surfside Beach, one at1220 Moser Drive in the Market Commons, Myrtle Beach, and one at 1700 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
With locations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, Bi Lo keeps prices low and is more warehouse in appearance. There are 8 stores in the area; 115 Willbrook in Pawleys Island, 4430 Highway 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet, 1610 Highway 17 South in Surfside Beach, 5020 Dick Pond Road (off High 544) in Socastee, 901 Church Street in Conway, 1241 38th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, and two in North Myrtle Beach at 3924 Highway 17 South and 720 North Main Street.
Definitely garnering the Lion’s share of business, Food Lion operates 27 stores in the area between Shallotte, North Carolina and Georgetown, South Carolina. Founded in 1957 in Salisbury, North Carolina, Food Lion has been on a steady expansion diet for years now. You’ll find one on almost every corner, but if you want to know locations, check them out here on their website.
If you happen to be in the Little River/North Myrtle Beach area, you have to stop in at Boulineau’s (212 Sea Mountain Highway). More than a grocery store, this complex of shops comprises over 175,000 square feet of retail shopping space that includes a humongous food store. Downstairs is a large fresh produce section, meat market, Elizabeth’s Kitchen café, the Beer Cave, and a bakery. Upstairs you’ll find jewelry, beachwear, toys and games, home décor and a kitchen store. It’s been a Cherry Grove institution for over 65 years and is quite something to behold.
I know there are more Myrtle Beach grocery store options, and probably some independently owned stores that I haven't covered here. Then, of course there’s always Wal-Mart and Target. There are also farmers market stalls that sell organic food and locally grown vegetables and fruit, and you can go out to the local farms themselves for even fresher produce, but they are seasonal.
If you haven’t shopped at Aldi yet, you’re in for some surprises. The grocery store is not your usual American food market and many of the brands, stock displays, and practices may be different from those you normally experience when you’re food shopping.
If you have a favorite grocery store, let us know by posting a comment below.
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