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Harris Teeter to Unveil Historic Replacement Store

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Harris Teeter Supermarkets here said it would reopen its Central Avenue store here May 29, unveiling a distinctive “industrial deco” design recalling co-founder W.T. Harris’ first store here in 1936.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to be attended by relatives of W.T. Harris as well as neighbors, contractors, architects and artists who worked together to create the new facility, which the company said better reflects its standards while seeking to enhance the Plaza Midwood neighborhood.

“The surrounding neighborhood and corporate Harris Teeter’s passionate anticipation for the first Harris Teeter grocery store site fostered a quest for a truly distinctive design,” Richard Barlett, partner, Bartlett Hartley & Mulkey Architects PA, the company responsible for the building’s façade and interior decor. “The area’s intense focus on the arts and numerous Central Avenue corridor art deco styled building inspired the industrial deco motif. The building profile is unmistakably unique with intricate details resulting in a rare yet delightful venue for a grocery store.”

W.T. Harris opened his first store at 1508 Central Ave. in 1936, and many years later, announced plans to relocate the original Harris Super Market to the 1704 Central Ave. location. Harris' store on Central Avenue was the first full service-supermarket in Charlotte, the first air-conditioned grocery store and the first to stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday nights. Harris continued to grow his Harris Super Market business to eight additional locations, and in 1960, merged with Teeter Food Mart of Mooresville, N.C., to form Harris Teeter.

The new, 45,000-square-foot art deco location features a green roof system visible from an upstairs seating area. Harris Teeter has also taken reclaimed wood from Harris' original 1704 Central Ave. location and incorporated it in the ceiling planks of its market hall and seating area, as well as the produce stands in the farmers market.

The company commissioned Charlotte-based artist Tom Thoune to design mosaics for the side of the building using whole or broken pieces of porcelain and ceramic pottery donated by community members, as well as British-born artist Shaun Cassidy to create four sculptural bike racks inspired by the building's art deco style.

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