Axios Raleigh

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April 22, 2024

πŸ‘Š It's Monday, and we're back at it.

Weather: Mostly sunny today. High of 62Β°.

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 895 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Wegmans' future in North Carolina

Wegmans in Chapel Hill. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Wegmans, the New York-based grocery store especially popular among transplants living in North Carolina, is plotting an even deeper expansion into the state, after building out stores in the Triangle in recent years.

Why it matters: Wegmans' growth adds fuel to North Carolina's already intense grocery wars. Over the last decade, the state, birthplace of Harris Teeter and Food Lion, has seen new competition from companies like Florida-based Publix, Arizona-based Sprouts and Germany-based Lidl.

Driving the news: This month Wegmans announced it would open its first Charlotte-area store, and it is already looking for its next North Carolina locations, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff writes.

What's next: The Charlotte Wegmans is expected to open in 2026 following a roughly 18-month buildout and store prep.

  • Wegmans' next Triangle store will open in Holly Springs in 2027.

Flashback: Wegmans began planning its North Carolina debut almost a decade ago, Dan Aken, the company's vice president of real estate, told Axios. The grocer prioritized the Triangle (the Raleigh store opened in 2019) because of its proximity to Wegmans' existing distribution network.

Zoom out: In 2023, Wegmans opened a huge new distribution center outside Richmond β€” a long-planned project that enables continued southern expansion.

  • "It not only frees up capacity from our other distribution center in Pennsylvania that helps us grow in the Northeast; this new distribution center also helps us grow in the Southeast," Aken said.

Between the lines: The company looks at populations "with high food interest," a combination of both education and income levels, and population growth when considering where to open stores.

  • "We do really well in university towns," Aken said.

Yes, but: While it's common in markets like Raleigh and Charlotte to see competitors like Publix and Harris Teeter nearby, don't expect to find a Wegmans too close to other supermarkets, Aken said.

  • A Wegmans' trade area (the geographical reach of the customers it serves) is about eight to 10 miles, compared with two to three miles for a typical grocery store, per Aken.

What they're saying: "We're all doing the same thing β€” chasing growth," Aken said.

Full story

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Illustration: Andrew Caress/Axios

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2. Map du jour: North Carolina's average wages

Average private sector wages, by county
Data: North Carolina Department of Commerce; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

North Carolina's highest-paying jobs are concentrated around the twin economic engines of the Research Triangle and Charlotte, according to data compiled by the state's Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The growing divergence of paychecks in N.C.'s cities versus rural areas highlights our state's growing rural and urban divide.

State of play: Employers are gravitating to where talented workforces are located and competing for workers, driving up wages.

The counties with the highest private-sector wages were:

  1. Durham: $90,727
  2. Mecklenburg: $84,797
  3. Wake: $74,866
  4. Orange: $66,979
  5. Forsyth: $64,038

Read more

3. The Tea: Clyde Cooper's selling downtown spot

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

🐷 The owner of Clyde Cooper's Barbecue in downtown Raleigh has listed its Wilmington Street restaurant space for $2.9 million. (Triangle Business Journal πŸ”’)

🚢 Raleigh is changing the process for how it adds new sidewalks to neighborhoods in the hopes that they will become more equitably spread throughout the city. (News & Observer πŸ”’)

β›ˆοΈ Donald Trump had to cancel his first planned rally since the start of his criminal hush money trial because of a storm Saturday evening near Wilmington. (AP)

πŸ’¦ Raleigh residents reported their tap water tasting different over the weekend, with the city saying the change in odor or taste had to do with seasonal variations in algae growth in Falls Lake and Lake Benson. (WRAL)

  • The city said that the drinking water continues to surpass all regulatory standards for safety.

4. πŸ’ Canes take the first game

Stefan Noesen, No. 23 of the Carolina Hurricanes, celebrates after scoring against the New York Islanders during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes claimed the first game of their opening-round playoff series against the New York Islanders Saturday β€” riding a strong performance from goaltender Frederik Andersen.

Driving the news: The Hurricanes won the series' first game in Raleigh 3-1, with the Islanders proving to be a handful for the Canes throughout.

  • Going into the third period, the game was tied 1-1.
  • But then the Canes got a go-ahead goal from Stefan Noesen, followed by an open-net goal from Martin Necas with 1:32 left in the game.
  • Andersen made several critical saves, notching 34 in total.

What they're saying: "You don't want to be a team relying on your goalie, but Freddie's always been there for us and has made the big save when we need it," defenseman Brady Skjei said, according to the Associated Press, adding: "Obviously we've got to do a little better job of helping him out."

What's next: Game two is in Raleigh tonight at 7:30pm before the team heads north to New York.

5. 🍻 2 more breweries open

Ponysaurus' new Raleigh outpost in Raleigh Iron Works also sports a delicious pizza menu. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

Two more breweries have opened across the Triangle this month.

The latest: The popular Durham brewery Ponysaurus opened a Raleigh outpost at the Raleigh Iron Works development in early April.

  • In addition to an extensive list of house-made brews, the brewery's Raleigh location has an extensive menu of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches and wings.

Also opening this past week was Atomic Clock Brewing Co. in downtown Durham.

  • Run by the brother-and-sister team of Brian (formerly of Town Brewing in Charlotte) and Colleen Quinn, Atomic Clock is at 501 Washington St., next to Plum.
  • Expect several IPAs, a pilsner, an amber and a sour beer on the brewery's inaugural tap list, which is set to expand.
The bar at Atomic Clock Brewing
The bar at Atomic Clock Brewing in downtown Durham. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

πŸ₯Ά Zachery thought he was done turning on the heat in his house but yesterday's chill had other thoughts.

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This newsletter was edited by Katie Peralta Soloff and copy edited by Lucia Maher.