Bi-Lo braces for bankruptcy, could close hundreds of stores nationwide

The grocery store chain that owns Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s is facing bankruptcy within the next month, according to Bloomberg news.

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company, has looked into other options before going bankrupt, such as asset sales and debt-to-equity sales. The company has gone bankrupt twice already and carries $1 billion in debt to its creditors.

Bi-Lo has yet to close stores or lay off employees, but it has been reported that up to 200 stores could be closing among the grocery chains. Southeastern Grocers also owns Fresco y Mas, which could be affected as well.

The company is the fifth-largest grocer in the U.S., owning 700 stores and employing 50,000 workers.


Caswell Station’s grand opening is this weekend – here’s what you need to know

The building that once housed Kennedy’s Premium Bar and Grill on Caswell Street now has new life as Caswell Station hosts its grand opening this weekend.

The restaurant and bar had a soft opening over the past two weeks, and the eatery has been well received.

The grand opening for Caswell Station starts at noon Saturday and ends Sunday night. There will be food and drink specials, raffles for Panthers and Hornets tickets, and live music.

The new restaurant and bar aims to be a neighborhood spot that has everything from corn hole to lobster corndogs. Dimitri Maheras, one of the partners of the endeavor, said everything had to be scrapped from Kennedy’s to give the location the feel they wanted. New to the space is a large outside astroturf area for corn hole, along with plenty of TV’s to watch your favorite game.

There is also an upstairs to the building that is currently being used for private parties, but Maheras plans on giving the space its own life like that of a speakeasy.

The food

Caswell Station’s menu has a wide range of items all at reasonable prices ($10-15). You can go light and fresh with a soup and salad, dig into a delicious lobster corndog, or share some cheesesteak egg rolls with the table. Caswell also has a wide selection of flatbreads.

Cheesesteak egg rolls. (Photos by Joshua Komer)
Lobster Cornbread. (Photo by Joshua Komer)

The beer menu touts an impressive variety, with 12 North Carolina breweries to choose from (plus one craft beer of the month). Not a beer drinker? The bar also has classic cocktails and a wine list.

The Elizabeth’s Old Fashioned (Photo by Joshua Komer)
Caswell Mule. Yum. (Photo by Joshua Komer)

Check out the menu here to find what you’re looking for.

News of Park Terrace Theater closure sparks petition to keep landmark open

Charlotte’s second-oldest movie theater is set to shutter its doors by the end of the week, but some advocates are fighting its closure.

Last weekend, The Charlotte Observer reported that the Park Terrace Theater was slated to close Dec. 17. After the news broke, a petition was started to help garner attention and show support for the landmark. As of noon Tuesday, the petition had received more than 300 signatures.

The iconic movie theater has been open since 1964 and underwent a major renovation in 1996 for expansion. It has not been confirmed who will take over the theater or what will become of it.

The Free Press has not received a response after reaching out to Regal Cinema, the company that owns the theater chain.

The Park Terrace Theater. (Photo by Joshua Komer/The Charlotte Free Press)

Does North Carolina topping Forbes’ best state for business list give us hope for Amazon’s second headquarters?

Images of Amazon’s campus in Seattle, Washington, in both the downtown and South Lake Union neighborhoods. Photographed from the roof of Amazon’s Port 99 building. (JORDAN STEAD / Amazon)

The state of North Carolina topped Forbes’ “Best State for Business” list this year after being in the top five spot for the past 13 years. The ranking is based on low business costs (labor, energy and taxes), and North Carolina has finally come in first.

This year, any indicator of a business-friendly location stirs hope in becoming home to the second Amazon headquarters. Although Forbes primarily looks at business cost, it may be a good sign for cities in the Tar Heel state vying for HQ2.

A shortlist was supposed to be announced by Amazon earlier this week, but the company said that because of the number of proposals, the announcement would have to wait until the beginning of next year. Two hundred thirty-eight cities and regions sent proposals from 54 states and providences in North America. Although the New York Times did not consider any city in the Carolinas worthy of HQ2, CNBC decided the entire state of North Carolina was the best fit for Amazon based on its calculations.

Related: What would Charlotte look like with Amazon’s second headquarters?

Amazon announced its second location could provide up to 50,000 jobs, with an average salary of $100,000. The company outlined some basic features a city has to have to be the right fit for the new headquarters but didn’t give many hints on what was the biggest priority. Raleigh-Durham, High Point-Greensboro and Charlotte all have placed bids to become Amazon’s second home.

Watch the video Charlotte made for Amazon below.

Charlotte goes all out with #CLTisPrime website to attract Amazon’s second headquarters

Like many major cities, Charlotte is bidding for Amazon’s second headquarters and has now gone all out to get the tech giant’s attention.

Charlotte economic developers created a website with the hashtag #CLTisPrime to encourage residents to tell Amazon why the Queen City is a “prime” location for the new headquarters.

Proposals are due Oct. 19, and Charlotte developers are aggressively pursuing the opportunity to bring 50,000 jobs to the area, along with billions in future economic impact.

Little reminders of Charlotte’s bid are showing up around the city, with CATS buses announcing, “Hey Amazon! #CLTisprime,” next to route numbers.

A bus announces “Hey Amazon! #CLTisPrime,” seen here at the Charlotte Area Transit System. (Photo by Joshua Komer)

Other cities have gotten creative. Tuscan, Arizona, tried to send a cactus to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (it was sadly returned), and a Georgia town offered to rename a portion of the town Amazon.

What would Charlotte look like with Amazon’s second headquarters?

Amazon has made a huge proposal, and cities like Charlotte and Raleigh plan to weigh in.

Amazon announced it will open a second headquarters in North America that will be the same size as its current Seattle location. The company sent out the press release last week to find the most enticing deal, along with the best location.

What would Charlotte look like if Amazon invested $5 billion into the city and promised tens of thousands of jobs with a median pay of $100,000 over the next decade?

For perspective, here are the largest employers in Charlotte:

  • Carolinas HealthCare system (35,000 employees)
  • Wells Fargo (23,000 employees)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (18,000 employees)
  • Walmart (17,000 employees)
  • Bank of America (15,000 employees)
  • Novant Health (11,000 employees)

Amazon’s Seattle headquarters currently has 40,000 employees, and the company is looking to have up to 50,000 employees to the new location. It plans to start with at least 500,000 square feet of office space and expand to 8.1 million square feet by 2030.

For comparison, the Bank of America Corporate Center has 1.1 million square feet of Class A office space. Accommodating the tech giant would be like adding just over seven of the Bank of America buildings to the Charlotte skyline.

Free Press Graphic

The potential for revenue

According to data taken from its Seattle headquarters, Amazon has spent $3.7 billion on construction and infrastructure, payed its employees $25.7 billion and payed out $43 million in public transportation for employees over the past seven years. The data was taken from 2010 until this year when Amazon moved their headquarters to Seattle.

Although the numbers are specific to Seattle, it can give potential cities like Charlotte an idea of the impact a tech giant has when it moves in.

The impact of Amazon coming to Charlotte would change the face of the city and give a guaranteed boost to the economy. Charlotte may not be No. 1 on Amazon’s list, but the Queen City has all the minimum requirements needed to make a base for a new headquarters.

The New York Times ranked each potential city in an article worth checking out. Charlotte made its top 15, while Raleigh made top 10 out of 50 potential cities.

You can read Amazon’s full proposal here.

Charlotte plans to “aggressively pursue opportunity” for Amazon’s second headquarters

Images of Amazon’s campus in Seattle, Washington, in both the downtown and South Lake Union neighborhoods. Photo courtesy of Amazon. (Jordan Stead/Amazon)

The Charlotte Regional Partnership and the Charlotte Chamber announced they “will aggressively pursue this opportunity” to bring Amazon to the Queen City.

Amazon has made a proposal to North American cities to find the best bid, along with the best cultural fit, for its second headquarters.

The potential employer would not only become the largest in Charlotte, but could have more employees than Wells Fargo and Bank of America combined. Charlotte meets all the basic criteria Amazon said it wants in the next city it will call home, such as a stable business environment, over a million people and a diverse population.

In a statement released Monday, CEO and President of Charlotte Regional Partnership Ronnie Bryant, and CEO and President of the Charlotte Chamber Bob Morgan said, “This is a transformative opportunity for our region. … It is also an unprecedented opportunity to engage our public sector, private sector and the not-for-profit sector in a team effort to put our best foot forward.”